Five Benefits of Cupping for CrossFit Athletes

April 26, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jen Lee
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It all started with American swimmer Michael Phelps back at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro when he was spotted with distinct purple markings on his body while competing.

While the ancient art of cupping dates back centuries, its foray into modern culture was more recent, and now, athletes of all walks of life use the alternative therapy as a form of recovery. The practice uses cups placed on the skin to create suction, sometimes aided by flame, and can be performed either as a wet or dry procedure.

Scientific literature on cupping is not fulsome, however most large-scale studies do show some medically proven benefits from the alternative form of therapy including the “elimination of toxins trapped in the tissues”.

Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence is plentiful. Las Vegas based registered massage therapist, Jen Lee, has used cupping techniques on CrossFitters, among other professional athletes. Lee says the alternative recovery method has little risk and side effects, outside of the distinct circular marks left on a person after a session.

Lee outlined five potential benefits that CrossFit athletes may find from cupping therapy:

1. Helps separate muscle adhesions through negative pressure that sometimes deep tissue massage does not reach.

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2. Can be used safely on the spine and joint areas.

Photo Credit: Red Raven Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine | @redravenacu

3. Pulls out toxins from within to the surface.

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4. Helps move lymph (fluid) out of channels.

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5. Can be used on acupuncture points for meridian work and Chinese medicine work, and is often combined with massage therapy.

Photo Credit: Peak Mobility | @peakmobility

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