How does it feel to get in a fight with an octopus? Only a select number of people may be able to answer that question, and our content writer, Vinnie (a.k.a. V-Man), is not one of them. That being said, he did look look like he lost a fight to an octopus after his latest adventure. The most recent episode of The Adventures of V-Man chronicles Vinnie’s experience at Muscle Lab, where he received cupping therapy. Let him tell you all about it below.
What Is Cupping?
Cupping is an old tradition that helps to stimulate circulation to muscles and improve recovery. It received a lot of attention during the 2016 Summer Olympics, during which Michael Phelps competed with purplish circles all over his back and legs. But cupping is an ancient therapy that is believed to help balance yin and yang, or the flow of qi in the body. Qi is the Chinese word for life force, and any pathogens that inhibit the flow can cause pain or reduced blood flow.
A cupping session involves a series of cups that the therapist places on different muscles. There are multiple styles, including dry, wet, and fire, but the most common variety is dry cupping using a pump. You can see how it works in the video in this article. The suction creates a vacuum inside the cup, causing the skin to rise into the cup. The reason that the skin reddens is because blood vessels expand. As you’ll see in the video, it looks very intimidating, but the markings are completely natural and they fade away within a week. Let Vinnie tell you all about his cupping experience below.
Arriving At Muscle Lab
First of all, Muscle Lab may be one of the coolest places that we’ve visited for The Adventures of V-Man. If there is one place that is designed to keep your body in the best condition possible, it’s Muscle Lab. They offer numerous services to optimize overall health, including cryotherapy, red light therapy, personal training, boxing, massage, cupping, and more.
After we got a tour of the facility, we met with Ari Escala, the cupping therapist. Let me tell you something: Ari is a cupping master. She knows all about it and has dedicated a lot of time and effort to keeping her body, and all those she works with, in the best shape possible. One of the best ways to keep the body in shape, outside of working out and eating clean, is to engage in different recovery methods, cupping being an excellent option. Even if you don’t engage in regular exercise, it’s easy to experience tension or soreness from a sedentary lifestyle. Cupping works to increase circulation to those static muscles, which helps decrease pain levels and overall discomfort.
The Cupping Experience
I cannot lie to you; it was a little nerve-racking to receive cupping. There are so many gruesome images of glass cups suctioning a person’s skin, and they contain bodily fluids. They scare people away from receiving cupping therapy, but there’s no need to be frightened, especially if you go to Muscle Lab. Ari talked to me the entire time she suctioned the cups up and down my back. You don’t want to push the body past the point of comfort, but a little suction is necessary. She encouraged me to communicate if anything was uncomfortable to ensure that I had the best experience possible.
To be completely honest, there was very little discomfort during the entire cupping session. The only time that I felt slight discomfort was when we transitioned to a seated position instead of me lying face down. Ari likes to incorporate movement into the cupping therapy session to maximize blood flow. Additionally, motion is the body’s lotion, meaning that mobilizing the sore area will only increase circulation and accelerate recovery.
Even though those a couple of those movements were tough to make it through, Ari was supportive and encouraging throughout. She makes you want to dig deep within your soul and push through the other side as a triumphant being. In fact, I can say that about the entire Muscle Lab staff. Let’s just say I overheard them coaching others and the intensity was real, but very inspirational.
Cupping is a unique therapy that is beneficial for anyone, not just athletes. Whether you want to relieve lower back pain that results from sitting at your desk or shoulder pain from a hard workout, cupping can accelerate your road to recovery. Head on over to the folks at Muscle Lab and they’ll help you get your body into the best shape possible. We only took advantage of their cupping therapy, but the facility offers other beneficial therapies. Tell them that V-Man sent you if you live in the Greater Los Angeles Area.