In the last summer olympics, a centuries old medical practice has again gained national popularity. Cupping, while a standard in alternative medicine, has taken it’s place in the national spotlight.
The early versions used bamboo or animal horn. These were applied to the skin after heating. When they cooled, they produced a suction that pulls up on the skin, for a variety of beneficial effects. Modern cups are usually made from glass, silicon, of plastic. The pulling can help release tight fascia and superficial muscle layers. It also increases blood flow and unwinds adhesions to expedite the recovery process. Most people find it relaxing and a tension release.
Of course, there’s a little more to it than just slapping some hot cups on you and hoping for the best. Ideally, you’ll find a licensed medical professional like a Physical or Occupational Therapist, Acupuncturist, or Chiropractor, to apply the right therapy to the targeted anatomy. Side effects are few, usually what looks like a bruise but are really broken capillaries (the smallest of blood vessels.) Likewise, be leery of claims of toxin release or curing medical diagnosis. There’s only marginal research backing it up.
So if you want to increase your paddle strength and range of motion, and speed up your recovery time, you might want to add cupping to your quiver. Whatever it takes to get back on the water sooner and better. Plus you’ll rock some rightious hickeys.