Cupping therapy is an ancient Eastern and Middle Eastern practice that dates back thousands of years and to date, many alternative practitioners still use it. In fact, cupping therapy has become quite popular in Western society as an effective treatment therapy.
Cupping therapy is an excellent treatment process for reducing pain and inflammation, improving blood flow and overall well-being as well as inducing relaxation. It is a therapy that is ideal for deep tissue massage too.
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How Cupping Therapy Works
According to alternative medicine practitioners, a person’s Qi needs to be in harmony and if it is not in harmony, pain occurs. The theory behind cupping therapy is that the vacuum pull that is created promotes a healthy flow of blood circulation and warmth to the affected area. The suction from the vacuum pull reaches deep into the body’s tissues which then releases harmful toxins from those tissues.
The result of cupping therapy is then an increase to the lymphatic flow, clear blood vessels and activated skin cells. These results cause triggers in the body which ultimately lead to better physical health and thus, mental vitality.
Cupping Therapy Treatment
Cupping therapy is an ancient treatment that has been proven to be effective for thousands of years. While the principal is the same, the treatment procedure has evolved slightly. The types of cups used for cupping therapy include glass, silicone, bamboo and earthenware.
The treatment process entirely depends on the patient’s needs and condition along with what results they are looking for. The first session will always start with a consultation where the patient’s overall health is considered, evaluated and a plan of treatment is decided upon. It is a non-surgical treatment that requires no down time afterwards. Multiple sessions can be had and each session may see the cups placed on the skin for a few minutes.
The first cupping session will typically involve around three to five cups but it is possible to start with one if unsure and want to see what it is all about first. Cupping therapy practitioners will never really use more than seven cups at the most in the beginning.
Some sort of flammable substance is first placed in the cup. This can be alcohol, paper or herbs which are set on fire. Once the fire has died out, the cup is placed upside down on the affected area of the skin. As the hot air from inside of the cup cools down, a vacuum pull is created. The skin then rises, reddens and the blood vessels expand to create an intense blood flow or circulation. The cup is left in this position for a few minutes before being removed.
Modern day cupping therapy has seen the introduction of a rubber pump that causes the vacuum pull as opposed to the fire method. Silicone cups are also more commonly used these days because the cupping therapy practitioner can move the cup as it suctions which creates a massage type effect.
Fire Cupping or Suction Cup Method
With the Fire Cupping Method, a cotton ball soaked in alcohol is ignited and held inside the cup with a pair of forceps to burn the oxygen in the cup. The cotton ball is quickly removed and the cup is placed on the patient’s skin in the selected location. The vacuum created inside the cup draws the patient’s skin up inside the cup causing intense circulation to the area.
With the Suction Cupping Method, air is suctioned from the cup manually with a pump after the cup is placed on the skin of the patient.
How Does Cupping Work?
In alternative medicine, pain is said to be caused by a disharmony relating to the flow of Qi in a person's body. When a suction cup is placed on the problem area, the vacuum pull of the cup creates warmth and circulation to the area. The suction from the cups can penetrate deep into your tissues causing the tissues to release harmful toxins. It triggers the lymphatic system, clears the blood vessels, as well as stretches and activates the skin.