by Tricia Kramer, L.Ac.

I was in a coffee shop when I overheard a conversation from the table next to me.  I looked over to see two young women -the one loudly said to her friend, “I want to look like Michael Phelps. You know, with red and purple spots all over my back.”

Ahhh. I started laughing. Thankfully, no coffee came out of my nose. This was a crowded coffee shop at lunch. The tables were close together. The young woman saw me laughing and started laughing as well. She spoke directly to me still smiling, “You know, those funny glass jars on his back?”

“Oh, yes. I know what you mean. Cupping.”

“Yeah – cupping!” she nodded, still laughing. Then seriously, “What is cupping?”

I began explaining, “Well, medically it is called ‘myofascial decompression therapy.’ A glass ‘cup’ is placed on oiled skin and then the air is pumped out of the glass creating suction. Nearby skin and underlying tissues are pulled up into the cup.”

“Really? Does it hurt?”

“Well, there is a feel good ‘hurt’ associated with it. But clients use cupping to relax. Think of a very strong massage – not necessarily comfortable while you are in the middle of it, but incredibly relaxing afterwards. Athletes use cupping to promote recovery after tiring workouts, but many people who use cupping are trying to ease chronic pain or tension. Chronic pain frequently causes specific areas of the body to become stiff. In turn, this stiffness can adversely affect blood circulation in tissues near the site of the pain. Cupping draws blood into those tissues. For the client, the effect is several days to a week of relief. Sometimes there is gradual long-term decrease in the pain.”

“Clients? Wow. You know a lot about it. Where can you find someone who does cupping?”

“Generally where you find acupuncture, you find cupping. Yes – I know a lot about it.”

I explained I was a certified, licensed acupuncturist. I told them about my training and continued studing to maintain my state and national license.

As we spoke, I began to remember the reasons I became an acupuncturist and felt the stirrings that had so inspired me over two decades ago. After receiving a few acupuncture sessions, several symptoms that had been troubling me had been healed.  That incentive got me to quit my job in corporate America so I could bring acupuncture healing to as many people as possible.

Currently cupping is at the same stage that acupuncture was several decades ago. Some establishment doctors and researchers treat it as a fad – but other researchers are initiating basic scientific studies to try to understand why it seems to work.Yes, in spite of the naysayers, many people, including athletes, have found pain relief and relaxation through cupping.

Contact Tricia Kramer. L.Ac. for a complimentary 20 minute consultation, now through March 31st! Located in The Birth Center at 620 Churchmans Road, Suite 101, Newark, DE  19702.