4 Your Health: Cupping for Pain Relief

Tim Moriarity has a bustling practice in the Broad Ripple area, helping people with all sorts of minor aches and pains, both on a physical and emotional level. He's been trained in the ancient healing practice called cupping. He uses it on his clients who are simply looking for relief.

Cupping is a fairly simple procedure. Tim places his plastic cups on the area where there is pain. He uses a device which pulls the air out of the cup. The skin draws up in a perfect circle and turns dark red.

"It just provides circulation to a painful or inflamed area," says Moriarity. "It pulls out inflammation. It helps with circulation and dilates the blood vessels."

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps had everyone wondering what happened to his back after he had a cupping session. This is not a massage. Cupping is a technique, according to Tim, which draws old blood up and out.

"It provides space in the muscle fibers, so the muscles can kind of breath and become a little more elastic. It also pulls out old stagnant blood, so fresh new nutrient rich blood can flow into the area."

Along with cupping, Tim also offers needling or acupuncture. The needles are as thin as a hair and are pushed gently into the skin. They are tossed away after use.

"The general premise of acupuncture is to unblock any stagnation in the body whether it be physical, dealing with the nervous system, dealing with the circulatory system even tapping into an emotional level," says Moriarity.

Western-based medicine might say there is no hard evidence that cupping and needling work, but pain relief is pain relief and Tim's clients are sticking by it. For more information on cupping and needling look up Eastern Wind Acupuncture.

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