The bigger your flexibility tool kit, the better your flexibility training will go. So, it was fun to come across “Effect of Cupping Therapy on Range of Motion, Pain Threshold, and Muscle Activity of the Hamstring Muscle Compared to Passive Stretching” It’s a fascinating read.
Kim et al, set out to review the effects of cupping on flexibility. The conclusion was that cupping therapy has a positive effect on flexibility equal to passive stretching. Allegedly more convenient and easier to work on patients than passive stretching. Therefore, cupping therapy should be considered as another option to treat range of motion issues.
They tested this protocol: “Cupping therapy was applied to the hamstring muscle for 5 minutes in the cupping therapy group. The passive stretching group was treated with a passive stretching for 10 seconds and repeated 9 times”
This is the same result that Lacross, 2014 found. Cupping therapy may induce a change in flexibility (equal to passive stretching). Maybe cupping actually gets into the tissues! This depth of effect , allegedly, increases the neurophysiological activity at the level of nociceptors, the spinal cord, and other nerves, and ultimately leads to significant relaxation (Musial et al., 2013). Cupping has also been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues (Hanan and Eman, 2013).
So, yes to cupping. Its fairly cheap, quite safe and a good DIY thing if you make sure you are suitable for this treatment. Bound to be good for facebook and instagram photos. Get a cheapie set for £35
Lacross ZT. Treatment Outcomes of Myofascial Decompression on Hamstring Pathology. 2014.
Musial F, Spohn D, Rolke R. Naturopathic reflex therapies for the treatment of chronic back and neck pain-Part 1: neurobiological foundations. Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(3):219-24.
Hanan S, Eman S. Cupping therapy (Al-Hijama): It’s impact on persistent non-specific lower back pain and client disability. Life Sci J. 2013;10:631-42.