In recent years, cupping for therapeutic purposes has been growing in popularity, with an increasing number of high profile athletes displaying the tell-tale red circular marks. This article describes how cupping is performed, what it is used for, the theories about how it works and looks at what evidence there is about whether cupping is effective. This will allow you to decide whether you would like to add cupping to your therapeutic tool box and for what purposes you might use it. Login or register a free account below to access the contents, key points and discussion questions that accompany the article.
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Kathryn Thomas (BSc Physio, MPhil Sports Physiotherapy) is a physiotherapist with a Masters degree in Sports Physiotherapy from the Institute of Sports Science and University of Cape Town, South Africa. She graduated both her honours and Masters degrees Cum Laude, and with Deans awards. After graduating in 2000 Kathryn worked in sports practices focusing on musculoskeletal injuries and rehabilitation. She was contracted to work with the Dolphins Cricket team (county/provincial team) and The Sharks rugby teams (Super rugby). Kathryn has also worked and supervised physios at the annual Comrades Marathon and Amashova cycle races for many years. She has worked with elite athletes from different sporting disciplines such as hockey, athletics, swimming and tennis. She was a competitive athlete holding national and provincial colours for swimming, biathlon, athletics, and surf lifesaving, and has a passion for sports and exercise physiology. She has presented research at the annual American College of Sports Medicine congress in Baltimore, and at The South African Sports Medicine Association in 2000 and 2011. She is Co-Kinetic’s technical editor and has taken on responsibility for writing our new clinical review updates for practitioners.
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