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October 13, 2022 — 23:02 PM
Chances are you’ve heard of cupping. Maybe you were introduced to the circular dark red bruises à la Michael Phelps in the Olympics in 2016 or from one of the many professional athletes, wellness enthusiasts, and TikTokers who have sported cupping marks since then.
If you’ve experienced cupping firsthand, you’re likely familiar with the traditional Chinese medicine–based practice’s tension-relieving, detox-inducing effects—but did you know you can achieve all these benefits of cupping from home?
While I’m a big fan of daily facial cupping (even Mama Medicine loves it), I was a bit skeptical about how effective at-home body cupping would be—especially because I swear by my biweekly acupuncture and cupping appointments. How could a case of silicone cups that cost me less than $70 get me the same benefits as a practice I’d been dropping over $100 per month on?
All that to say, my mind was slightly blown when I first tried WTHN’s at-home body cupping kit. My initial thought: Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Followed quickly by: I’m about to save so much money.
WTHN Body Cupping Kit
Let’s talk about why I love cupping.
As an athlete, I was first drawn to cupping for its recovery benefits. I thought if one of the most medaled Olympians in the world is cupping, it must have an impact. Licensed acupuncturist, board-certified Chinese herbalist, and co-founder of WTHN acupuncture studio, Shari Auth, confirms, “Cupping is often used by athletes to speed recovery after difficult workouts and to keep muscles energized.”
I personally have turned to cupping while training for multiple marathons, and it gives me a looseness in my muscles that a typical (and still essential) stretching routine just does not achieve. The cups act as a suction against your skin to improve circulation, pulling tension from your muscles and toxins from your body. The results are similar to a really great massage—but the process simply uses pulling instead of pushing.
Whether you’re training for a 5k or simply increasing the intensity of your typical training, Auth recommends cupping as a way to ease the stress put on your body. She further points out that research proves the treatment has a “significant effect on relieving muscle fatigue.”
However, it’s important to note that cupping isn’t only for athletes. The practice is also a great tool for detoxing, per Auth. “[It] helps to promote relaxation, enhance circulation, relieve pain, and extract toxins from the body,” she explains.
OK, onto the body cupping kit.
WTHN created its at-home body cupping kit as a way to make cupping more accessible and to help people heal from their own homes. The set of eight silicone cups comes in a sleek black case that can easily be tossed in your luggage or bag, so you can truly achieve the benefits of cupping from anywhere. I’d know, I just packed my kit and brought it to Europe for the Berlin marathon—that’s how obsessed I am.
Auth says the cups can be used two to three times per week, or as often as you see fit. You can use them anywhere on your body, but (as a runner and someone who sits a lot for work) I mostly use them to relieve tension in my back, legs, and shoulders.
Better yet, the cups are incredibly easy to use. You’ll simply place them on your skin, push down on the top, hold for a few seconds, and release. This process suctions the cups to your body, and you can remove them about 15 minutes later.
If you’re hesitant to take a DIY-approach to cupping, this kit also makes the process less intimidating. It includes an instruction booklet with detailed directions on how to use the cups, where to apply them, and the different use cases for cupping.
But what about the marks?
Ah, yes, the famous cupping marks. When I first started getting cupping, I would be stopped regularly and asked about the circular bruises on my back. Now, with the practice becoming more mainstream, it happens far less frequently.
I actually like sporting my recovery marks, as it feels like evidence that the treatment actually works. In reality, it’s just a sign of increased blood flow. However, if you’re deterred by the visual appearance, rest assured knowing the bruises typically fade within 10 days (though it can take as little as three). I’ve never had cupping marks last longer than five days, but it all depends on how your body heals.
My favorite fact? The color and darkness of the marks can actually be informative. It indicates what may be happening within a specific area of your body, and the brand even offers a visual to help you get better insight about your cupping bruises. I’ve noticed my cupping marks getting lighter and lighter, which means my body is getting even healthier, according to WTHN’s handy chart.
Of course, the coolest thing about having WTHN’s at-home body cupping kit is that I can use it as often as I want without worrying about the cost. The flexibility to utilize this recovery treatment as often as I want means I can really reap the healing benefits.
While, yes, I’m always one to try a new fitness trend or recovery method, I wouldn’t have been dropping money on regular cupping sessions for the past five years if I didn’t feel the results. And while I won’t sit and calculate all the money I could have saved had I been introduced to WTHN’s body cupping kit sooner, let’s just say I’m going to have a lot more room to splurge on other recovery tools in the future.
Want to step up your at-home health rituals too? The brand also makes my favorite acupressure mat.
WTHN Body Cupping Kit