Karim Benzema, French striker of Real Madrid, been using cupping since 2019. How it transcends through his social networks and his declarations to the media, since the end of that year he has frequently visited the office of an osteopath named Jeffrey Smadja, who specializes in this technique.
The truth is that cupping, while favored by Karim Benzema and even Michael Phelps, the multiple champion swimmer, is not widely accepted in the medical community. In several countries, in fact, it is identified as an alternative therapy, therefore it does not fall within the practice of conventional medicine.
Let’s see, then, what its application consists of and why it has become fashionable in elite sport. Is it really that beneficial?
What is cupping?
Also known as cupping OR cupping massage, this therapy comes from China and owes its terminology to English (cup) to the devices used, which have the shape of a cup. They would stimulate the internal life force or who of the body, by exerting suction on different points of the skin.
There is no one way to apply cupping. In fact, up to 5 variants can be counted:
- Massage: This is the classic application pattern, which is located on the back. The cups, cups or suckers move over the skin of the bust aided by the lubrication of an oil.
- Fixed: the fixed suction cup does not move, but is placed in a point where it remains static for several minutes. The chosen places would be points pre-established by alternative medicine, so that they would be linked to vital energy and reflexes, as happens with acupuncture.
- bleeding: This bloodier modality incorporates an incision that is made in the skin when the suction cup is removed. The goal is to get a small amount of blood that would help decompress and deflate the area stimulated by the cup or cup. Some technique specialists reverse the steps and practice the incisions first.
- With quick release: the suction cup is not left on for minutes, but only a few seconds. It is located on the back.
- Of air: In this case suction cups are used which are connected to a machine which produces a vacuum. Therefore, once the cups have been positioned, the air is extracted from them.
Does cupping used by Karim Benzema have any benefits?
Cupping popularized by Karim Benzema, as well anticipated, is not without its critics. It is difficult to find well-conducted scientific studies that certify the benefits attributed to it.
His defenders support him it would be able to help in the treatment of some skin conditionslike eczema. In this sense, its use in aesthetic medicine is frequent. It is hypothesized that it can stimulate the production of new collagen by generating small breaks in the dermal fibers that would need to be repaired.
The least verifiable part in this aesthetic field is the presumed elimination of toxins which would take place with aspiration and also with the incision if the bleeding technique is used. For now the detox It is an ambiguous concept that does not find confirmation in research.
Anyway, one 2016 review published by Al Bedah et al. found enough items to recommend cupping exploration in the treatment of chronic pain. Above all, it would relieve muscle and skeletal discomfort concentrated in the neck and upper limbs.
Similarly, A previous post, from 2012said nonspecific neck pain improved in the patients they contacted cupping with hot cupping. The same cannot be said for migraines and fibromyalgia.
Elite athletes use it to speed up muscle recovery after tough races and training sessions. Not only are Karim Benzema and Michael Phelps experts at this, but they’ve also been with suckers, at one point in their careers, Neymar Jr., Connor McGregor and James Harrison.
However, a publication of the year 2018 in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine ruled out the indication of cupping in sport as a beneficial technique. According to the authors, there are not enough elements to encourage or discourage the cupping in those people who exercise.
Your risks and contraindications
Applying suction cups can cause some side effects. For example, there may be bruises and even ulcers. Aspiration bruises are to be expected, as photographs of famous athletes undergoing therapy show.
The risk after lesions that penetrate the skin is superinfection. Bacteria can more easily colonize these ulcerated areas.
Considering this, patients who consume anticoagulants or who have coagulation disorders would have a contraindication for the cupping. The bruises would be difficult to fix in them and cause serious complications.
Nor should cups or glasses be applied on areas of burned or healing skin. Even in these cases, the risk of superinfection is evident.
Is Karim Benzema cupping safe?
Karim Benzema is unlikely to have any problems associated with cupping in the foreseeable future. As long as the applications are made in a trusted place, with adequate hygiene measures and in compliance with contraindications, the risks will be minimal.
In any case, it is worth clarifying once again there is not enough scientific evidence to recommend this therapy as effective. Use to allegedly accelerate muscle recovery has not been proven. Yes, it might reduce musculoskeletal pain, but not in all cases or locations of discomfort.
Prudence should always prevail before alternative therapies. There is no point in abandoning a conventional treatment for pain or muscle recovery. If you want to try cupping, it’s okay to do it in a certified and trusted place, but don’t place 100% of your expectations there.
Post Cupping Therapy: Karim Benzema’s method for muscle recovery appeared for the first time in research-school.