At ALTR, we're all about balance - Russian twists followed by tacos and tequila, burpees followed by brunch etc. The same goes for self care. When you're working it and pushing your hardest, especially during ALTR SHRED, self care couldn't be more important.
One way to practice self care? Cupping. Cupping is an ancient form of alternative medicine using cups to create suction over areas of pain and tension on your body. It's been used for thousands of years to help ease inflammation, relieve pain and increase blood flow.
While cupping isn't a new therapy, it's gained popularity over the last few years after Michael Phelps notoriously received cupping therapy before and during the Olympics and displayed the large, circular marks on his back while taking home the gold. In addition to Michael Phelps, this all-natural therapy is popular with many other athletes and celebrities, including Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Coughlin and Justin Bieber.
Lucky for us, one of our favorite Pros happens to be an expert in cupping therapies (and a total badass in general).
Matt (or Doc Matt as we like to refer to him) isn't just an ALTR Pro - he's a local chiropractor and cupping expert. He's been treating patients with cupping therapy since the start of his career and recommends it for anyone with tissue and muscle pain, especially ALTR Army members crushing this month's SHRED.
"Cupping is a form of myofascial decompression commonly used to reduce pain and alleviate muscular tension - think of a deep tissue massage," he says. "This helps stimulate blood circulation and aids in muscle recovery after vigorous workouts." ALTR Army SHREDDERS, he's talking to you.
How does it work? Cupping doesn't take much longer than 10-15 minutes. It starts with your therapist identifying the body areas that need the muscle recovery and increased blood flow most (for most people, this tends to be on their back). Glass or plastic cups are then placed on the areas of tightness, and a suction is used to adhere the cups. They're typically left on the skin for a matter of minutes. After that, the cups are removed and a mark is typically left in its place (the mark goes away in a matter of days). After the treatment, the tension areas are relieved, blood flow is restored and muscle recovery is typically significantly faster.
In a few words, it's badass and it's all natural. We dig that.
"Especially during a vigorous workout cycle like ALTR SHRED, cupping can be highly beneficial for athletes," Matt says. "I specifically recommend it for any delayed onset muscle soreness to help recover faster between sessions and to optimize your time in the gym. Being the intense workout that it is, we all have little aches and pains that come and go, sometimes more serious than others. Cupping, along with other alternative medicine services, Weill help you reduce that irritating body part so you can safely do the things you love to do."