What is cupping?
Cupping is a type of alternative therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The suction may facilitate healing with blood flow.
Proponents also claim the suction helps facilitate the flow of “qi” in the body. Qi is a Chinese word meaning life force.
Many Taoists believe that cupping helps balance yin and yang, or the negative and positive, within the body. Restoring balance between these two extremes is thought to help with the body’s resistance to pathogens as well as its ability to increase blood flow and reduce pain.
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue. A lot of athletes now use cupping as they believe it can help their performance. Michael Phelps was famous t the olympics for sporting the red marks associated with cupping.
People use cupping to complement their care for a host of issues and conditions.
What are the different types of cupping?
Modern cupping is often performed using glass cups that are rounded like balls and open on one end.
There are two main categories of cupping performed today:
Dry cupping is a suction-only method.
Wet cupping may involve both suction and controlled medicinal bleeding.
At back to health I just practice dry cupping.
What should I expect during a cupping treatment?
During a cupping treatment, a cup is placed on the skin and then heated or suctioned onto the skin. The cup is often heated with fire. The fire source is removed, and the heated cup is placed with the open side directly on your skin.
When the hot cup is placed on your skin, the air inside the cup cools and creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upward into the cup. Your skin may turn red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure.
With dry cupping, the cup is set in place for a set time, usually between 5 and 10 minutes. Oil may be used on the skin and the cup may be used to massage the area before being removed.
Any mild bruising or other marks usually go away within 10 days of the session.
Some modern cupping practitioners have shifted to using rubber pumps to create suction versus more traditional heat methods.
What conditions can cupping treat?
Cupping has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It may be particularly effective at easing conditions that create muscle aches and pains.
Since the cups can also be applied to major acupressure points, the practice is possibly effective at treating digestive issues, skin issues, and other conditions commonly treated with acupressure.
It has also been reported that cupping can help with cellulite.
There aren’t many side effects associated with cupping. The side effects you may experience will typically occur during your treatment or immediately after.
You may feel lightheaded or dizzy during your treatment. You may also experience sweating or nausea.
After treatment, the skin around the rim of the cup may become irritated and marked in a circular pattern. You may also feel lightheaded or dizzy shortly after your session.
Infection is always a risk after undergoing cupping therapy. The risk is small and usually avoided if your practitioner follows the right methods for cleaning your skin and controlling infection before and after your session.
Other risks include:
scarring of the skin
This lady just had some treatments on one of her arms. The photo is small but you can still see a marked difference in size and tone.