Cupping in the NFL


Blue 42! Blue 42! Omaha. Hut, hut, CUP!

Now, I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of the current cup that graces the ranks of the NFL.  That’s not the super cup I’m referring to, although the players might beg to differ.  What I’m referring to is a specially designed suction cup used in an ancient therapy known as cupping.


Cup Like An Egyptian

How ancient is cupping? One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, which dates back to 1500 BC, describes Egyptians use of cupping to treat pain, vertigo, fever, weakened appetite and to help accelerate the healing process.  Jump ahead 500 years to 1000 BC and archaeologists find evidence of cupping in China, where animal horn and later bamboo and pottery served as cups.  Fast forward about 3,000 years and we find confirmation of cupping in the United States, courtesy of movie stars like Jennifer Aniston and Gwenyth Paltrow.  So it's no surprise the National Football League thinks there's a definite win with cupping therapy.


Cupping in the NFL

The latest play in the NFL post-game regime entails strategically placed silicone cups on the body.  Cupping therapy involves suction, instead of pressure, to release toxins and increase blood and lymph flow to treatment areas. This maneuver creates space and separation in the tissues that allows the therapist to work more effectively and comfortably on the client. For medical professionals that train and treat NFL players, getting the players back onto the field quickly and safely is a demanding endeavor. For years, NFL players soaked their battered bodies in whirlpool tubs and ice baths, endured electrical stimulation and lengthy deep tissue massages, all intended to bring relief from hard fought battles on the gridiron (see, I know the jargon!).  And while those therapies can be effective, NFL trainers and physical therapists have seen amazing benefits, in less time, from cupping. “When I get off this table, I always feel the BEST I’ve ever felt,” admits Mike Neal, Packers Defensive Lineman, after a serious cupping session with his trainer, Tito.


Clipping Is A No, No. Cupping Is A Yes, Yes!

While a clipping penalty will cost the offending team 15 yards, cupping will guarantee a team the benefits of a 30 minute deep tissue massage in under 5 minutes. Cupping removes stress and tension, reduces inflammation, relieves pain, enhances skin tone, collagen and elasticity, improves circulation and promotes faster healing all over the body. It’s also known to draw out the bad chi or “sick energy” and promote mental and physical well-being and relaxation.  "Lambeau Leaps", or whatever your signature celebratory move, will definitely be in order when you utilize this time-honored therapy.


 You’ll Be In The Red Zone With Cupping 

Getting a raised red reaction on the surface of the skin is the goalNFL trainers use three different methods of cupping on players: static, motion and flush.  The silicone cups, like those offered from IntiFit, can be used on wet or dry skin, and lotions and oils can also be applied.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some videos of cupping in action.  Greg Gorey, of Bodywork Masters, uses the silicone massage cups in his practice to address problems in the back, shoulder, hip and glute areas. Greg’s techniques are impressive and inspiring. Check it out


Get In The Game With Cupping

So don’t let cupping be confined to the NFL locker room. Thousands of years in practice, countless endorsements from medical professionals and encouraging client testimonials confirm the effectiveness of this often overlooked therapy.  Are you ready for some cupping? (cue Hank Williams Jr. Yes, I'm old cupping!)

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