Cupping therapy is a fascinating alternative form of medicine that has received mention in historical accounts dating from possibly 5,000 years ago. Chinese Cupping Therapy is often used in conjunction with more commonly known forms of traditional Chinese medicine treatments and methods such as acupuncture and acupressure.
Cupping therapy is ideal for those that are looking to improve their flow of energy, encourage detoxification of the body, relieve pain, ease tense muscles, or encourage relaxation.
The basic idea behind cupping therapy is to place cups on the patient’s skin to create a vacuum, so the blood is drawn to the surface of the skin in specific parts of the body that need healing.
Cupping therapy is based on the belief that using suction or vacuum on specific cupping points on a patient’s body can help remove obstructions in the natural energy pathways (meridians) inside the body and thus cure ailments.
The cups may be left on a certain spot for around 3 minutes, or they may be used to glide over a larger area or muscle group.
During a typical massage therapy session, the body is tended to with the application of pressure and tissue compression. Cupping therapy uses negative pressure to aid in promoting blood flow and increase blood circulation to muscles and tissue, supplies oxygen to cells, loosens “knots”, and can release and drain excess fluids and toxins.
Cupping combines the value of building up the bodies energy with the relief of ridding the body of its toxins. Energy flows through the twelve meridians, and the blood flows in the capillaries under the skin. The cupping method works to move the toxins towards the surface of the skin and out of the body, hence the markings that are left after the session. These are not the same as painful bruising, but just toxins and blood being brought to the surface to be expelled. The markings should only last from 3-14 days, depending on individual toxin level. Once the toxins have reached the surface of the skin, it is then believed that the healing process can begin.
Cupping therapy has also been used to treat several other conditions including blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia, rheumatic diseases such as arthritis, fertility and other gynecological disorders, eczema, acne, high blood pressure, migraines, anxiety, depression, allergies, asthma, cellulite, and varicose veins.
It is a very common practice among athletes and is considered an effective treatment to increase motion and soothe sore and tired muscles. The increased blood flow to the treated areas helps to promote muscle healing. It is especially helpful when the patient is competing in a sport such as swimming, gymnastics, or track and field because they are constantly using these muscles. Increasing the blood flow will help loosen these muscles and improve the range of motion these athletes have.
After a few repeated cupping therapy sessions, the patient can begin to experience feeling the need for sleep or may experience an inability to fall asleep. There may be instances of heightened smells, emotional release, and muscle soreness. The muscle soreness may mimic the effects an individual might experience after a strenuous workout. These effects will lessen as the treatments continue and will vary from person to person.After the first cupping therapy session, the patient should experience a marked improvement in their pain levels or congestion. The symptoms they were treated for will become less and less as time goes on and the cupping therapy treatments are continued. Joint stiffness will see a noticeable improvement, and there may be improved hormone production. The muscles will begin to stretch and loosen, and inflammation should be relieved as the stagnant blood and toxins are released from the body. The cupping therapy will begin to strengthen the patient’s immune system and facilitate the movement of Qi (life energy) and blood within the body. The patient will experience an overall good feeling of health and energy beginning with the first treatment and will become more noticeable as the toxins continue to be removed from the body and the cupping therapy sessions continue.
Always consult with your trusted health care professional before receiving cupping to be sure it is beneficial for you.