I have to admit, I have always been pretty skeptical about alternative medicine. Sure, I know that acupuncture and cupping have been around for hundreds of years but never really gave them any thought. We have all seen those crazy photos of Micheal Phelps with his big red circles which recently brought the idea of cupping back into the mainstream for athletes. So, when I was offered a chance to try both treatments out last month, I was intrigued. Here’s what I learned from my trial of Acupuncture and Cupping.
What I learned from Acupuncture and Cupping
I was treated to two acupuncture and cupping sessions provided by Beth at Jade and Jasmine Healing Arts in Arlington, Virginia. Beth took a very thorough history both before and during my session. It just so happened that I was having some calf and shin tightness from over doing it on my runs so it was perfect timing for a session. I immediately felt at ease after Beth explained the treatment process to me.
Acupuncture does not hurt
I expected to feel a prick of some sort from the needles. The needles used were so small and I honestly could not even feel them going in. Acupuncture needles are not inserted deeply but kept superficially.
Acupuncture has specific targets
If you have ever done foot reflexology, you know that certain parts of the foot correspond to various trigger points on the body.The same is true for acupuncture. The needles are inserted at pressure points to target specific ailments, illnesses or injury. For example, if you have trouble sleeping acupuncture needles might be inserted in your hand or foot to target that specifically.
Cupping is not so crazy after all
Seeing that I fancy myself quite the athlete (she says with a sarcastic tone), I was really curious to try cupping. The Cupping treatment I received used a gentle suction to lift the skin tissue. This technique allows for increased blood flow around the area.
Cupping does not have to leave scars
I tried Cupping on 2 different occasions and neither time did it leave any lasting red circles or marks on my leg or back. I was expecting it to hurt but was surprised when just the opposite happened. It is a little bit of a strange sensation at first, but once I relaxed I was able to well, relax and enjoy the sensation. The cups had a gentle suction and as Beth slid them around my upper back area, it was very much like a massage.
Did it work?
Right after the treatments, I did feel almost immediate muscle relaxation in my calf. The next few days, my calf pain did ease up. I presume, with continued visits, Cupping would continue to ease muscle aches and minor injuries from running and exercise.
Would I do it again?
Definitely! I personally felt like I got more out of the cupping than the acupuncture (in my limited experience). I can certainly see how regular sessions would help with recovery and minor muscle issues. I believe that Cupping would complement foam rolling, stretching and massage. Now to just find the time to fit that all in!
Tell Me: Have you tried Acupuncture or Cupping? Would you?