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Endurance sports are tough enough. Swimming stars, NBA players, and members of the US women’s gymnastics team know the value in healing the body in anticipation of their next competition, which is why they have been among the athletes using cupping therapy.

The ancient Chinese practice of cupping has been used for thousands of years. It’s a simple process wherein specialized cups – either made from glass, plastic, or silicone – are placed on one’s skin and suction is created which pulls the skin up and away. This allows old blood to drain from this region of the body and new blood to enter, increasing circulation, clearing out pathogens, assisting in muscle recovery and functionality, and boosting immune system response.

Why do athletes do cupping?

For athletes, cupping falls in the category of athletic conditioning and rehabilitation. Silicone cupping sets opens the body up, lifts the tissue, and releases tension without any compression or discomfort of force. For this reason, some have been calling it a ‘reverse massage’. Instead of pressing down, everything suctions up. Specifically, cupping therapy has used to relieve symptoms associated to sports-related injuries including plantar fasciitis, shin splits, sciatica, and frozen shoulder.

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Some will dispute whether cupping therapy is real or not, as research has been minimal. Regardless, the results speak for themselves. Multiple studies cite relief from cupping related to conditions such as chronic neck pain and low back pain. In addition, amateur and professional athletes using cupping have been studied, and no disadvantage or risk was found to the demographic.

The characteristic purple circles left over post-cupping are commonly found on Instagram, on athletes, and in Hollywood. If you need something to kick-start your muscle recovery, this can work. That said, if you’re new, you want to ensure the treatment plan you use is designated to provide the specific result you want. You’ll also want to drink fluids before and after to keep hydrated, notify your practitioner if you experience pain in any way during the cupping process, and remember, the marks which could be left over at the end will disappear in as little as two hours or as long as three weeks.

What is silicone cupping?

Although there is no guarantee cupping therapy for athletes is going to have a massive impact on one’s performance, we can point to the number of athletes who have used it as well as members of the general population who have found benefit. Endurance sport athletes are coming to cupping for sports performance and healing because it’s one of the few alternative treatments that work for them.

As a Canadian athlete, if you’re looking to get started with cupping therapy, purchase your silicone cupping set today from

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