Before and After Cupping Therapy | IMPACT Physical Therapy & Sports Recovery

Before and After Cupping Therapy: What to Expect

Woman laying face down receiving cupping therapy

Cupping therapy has been practiced around the world for over 3500 years starting in Egypt and spreading to all corners of the globe. In recent years, it’s gained a considerable popular following due to the number of Olympic-level athletes that use cupping therapy for their own physical and mental well-being. But does cupping therapy work? How long do those cupping marks last? In this helpful guide, IMPACT Physical Therapy and Sports Recovery will go over what you can expect before and after cupping therapy, aftercare techniques, and the benefits you can expect. And if you have any questions, you can reach out to our physical therapy team. 

Does Cupping Therapy Work?

Cupping has a long history of use to treat a number of conditions. For example, the Chinese people have used cupping therapy for centuries to help stimulate the flow of bodily energy and stagnant blood in an effort to prevent and treat health issues. Alongside modern medicine, cupping therapy is still used to help a number of conditions. When someone asks us if cupping therapy works, we can point to the following conditions for which cupping can be used to treat or help alleviate: 

  • Back pain and neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Headaches and migraines caused by tension
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma

And you don’t have to worry about how long those cupping marks last either, as the bruises left by the vacuum created by the process can last between a few hours or will fade within a week or two. 

What to do Before Cupping Therapy

The following are some things you should consider doing before your cupping therapy session, as they can help remove any discomfort you might experience:

  • Drink Water: Making sure your skin is properly hydrated is important, but more importantly, cupping therapy helps stimulate your lymphatic system to clear away waste and water is a necessary part of that process.
  • Be Sure to Eat: While your cupping therapy appointment doesn’t take long (you’ll have the cups on for an average of 5-10 minutes), it’s best to not be distracted by hunger during treatment. 
  • No Shaving: If you do decide to shave the area you’re undergoing cupping therapy in, make sure you do this at least 4 hours before your cupping therapy session. Shaving can irritate the skin, and make it easy for blood to seep through.
  • Avoid Sunburn: Because heat is often used in cupping therapy, sunburned skin will become further irritated and the treatment will be painful.
  • Go Easy while Exfoliating: Aggressive exfoliation can leave your skin extra sensitive, and this will make the cupping process uncomfortable. 

What to do After Cupping Therapy

Before and after cupping therapy, it’s important that you take care of yourself and your now sensitive skin. These tips can also help reduce how long cupping marks last. 

  • Drink more water: Your body is going to be moving a lot of cell waste because of the jump start from cupping therapy, and one of the best things to do after cupping therapy is to increase your water intake to help smooth out this process.
  • Stay Warm: Your body may react like it is fighting a minor cold. It is perfectly normal to feel a little feverish as your lymphatic system is getting started on processing and removing cell waste from your body. 
  • Rest: Getting enough rest will help your body to repair and treat itself. You might feel dizzy, fatigue, headaches, or body aches which are normal parts of the cupping process.

In addition to the aforementioned tips, for the 4-6 hours following your cupping therapy session, you’ll want to avoid the following: 

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Extreme temperatures 
  • Intense exercise

Trust IMPACT Physical Therapy & Sports Recovery For Your Therapy Needs

IMPACT Physical Therapy & Sports Recovery has therapy locations throughout the Chicagoland area, designed to make it easier than ever for you to get the proper help you need when it comes to physical therapy. We can help with sports recovery services, chronic pain, post-op rehab, and so much more. Request an appointment today, and let us start getting you back on the path to recovery.