If you’ve watched any sporting events lately, you’ve probably wondered what those odd, circular bruises are on the exposed skin of your favorite athletes.
Those telltale bruises are the aftermath of “hijama,” or cupping therapy.
To practice cupping, a therapist places a special cup on a patient’s skin for a few minutes to create suction.
In a wet cupping session, a small incision is made after the first set of cups is removed. A second cupping session is initiated to draw a small amount of blood.
If it is a dry cupping session, no incision is made and the patient only experiences suction.
The practice touts many benefits, including relaxation, recovery, and well-being.
While it may seem trendy now, this alternative medicine is nothing new. It’s unclear where exactly the therapy originated, but it has been used in some form for roughly 5,000 years.
Practice this ancient art of therapy to get back in the gym faster. Keep reading for an overview of the benefits of hijama.
Why Athletes Use Hijama
Hijama is used to treat a plethora of conditions. Athletes consider it most effective to treat muscle aches and pains, improve recovery time, and increase blood flow.
Experts say cupping can relieve pain associated with back pain, headaches, and even menstrual cramps.
A Chinese study showed that daily cupping reduced pain symptoms and tender points experienced by individuals with fibromyalgia. After 15 days, the positive effects lasted two additional weeks.
A 2013 study conducted in India on patients with knee pain found results similar to taking 650 milligrams of acetaminophen three times a day.
The cupping method creates pressure that draws blood to the suctioned area. This increases your overall blood flow.
When people experience pain, it means inflammation is concentrated in one area. Cupping increases blood flow to the affected area by triggering immune cells to travel to that location. This decreases the swelling and begins the repair process.
Increased blood flow is vital to proper sports recovery.
Cupping is said to aid athletes who suffer from sports-related injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, sciatica, and more.
The negative pressure created by cupping releases tension in the structures of the body without causing further discomfort. In this way, the practice can be considered a backward massage.
Instead of compressing the tissue, it is lifted up into the cup and opens up the body.
Train Like a Professional
The scientific evidence for cupping is still building, but there are plenty of folks who are reaping the benefits. Those cups are definitely going to leave big, hickey-like bruises on your skin that can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks—so if that’s not something you’re interested in, maybe steer clear.
If you’re a serious athlete, you should consider hijama as an addition to your recovery protocol.
And if you’re looking for elite athlete training, you should join a modern fitness center.
Contact us today and we’ll help you strive for excellence.