What Is Cupping Therapy?
- 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.
- 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.
What are the different types of cupping?
There are two main types of cupping:
- Dry cupping is a suction-only method.
- Wet cupping may involve both suction and controlled medicinal bleeding.
Beyond these two main methods, there are a variety of cupping practices to explore, including:
- Needle cupping: In this combination of acupuncture and cupping, acupuncture needles are first applied, and cups are then placed over each needle.
- Massage cupping: After creating the suction, the therapist moves the cups across the skin.
- Facial cupping: Small silicone cups are placed on the face to assist with rejuvenating and detoxifying the skin.
- Water cupping: One-third of each cup is filled with warm water, then inverted onto the skin for suction.
How Does Cupping Therapy Work?
- Cupping uses a cup to pull an area of skin into a suction that decompresses muscles and connective tissue.
- This promotes blood flow to the compromised area, enhances circulation and helps to increase the body’s own healing processes — almost like a backward deep tissue massage.
- There are several different types of cups ranging from glass to silicone and bamboo, and there are different ways to use them.
- Sometimes practitioners will only use one or two cups.
- Other times, they’ll cover your entire back with cups.
- Two popular types of cupping: stationary and sliding.
- Stationary cupping uses suction only, keeping the cups in place for a set time, usually 5 to 10 minutes.
- Sliding cupping is more like a deep tissue massage where the provider moves the cups over the area of pain or concern.
What Does Cupping Therapy 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.
Cupping Therapy has been used to treat many different ailments on all different types of people from professional athletes to the general population. Some of these ailments include:
- Back and neck pain
- Knee arthritis
- Pain control
- Controlling inflammation
- Sore muscles
More research needs to be conducted on this topic. However, the research noted above does show beneficial effects.
Benefits of Cupping Therapy
Proponents of cupping claim a broad scope of benefits from the practice. Principally, it’s believed to promote healing and muscle recovery. It is also used to treat:
- Neck, shoulder, back, and knee pain
- Skin issues such as acne and hives
- High blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal disorders
This draws blood to the affected area and is thought to do have many benefits. Some of them are listed below.
- Reducing soreness
- Increasing the healing of chronic, overworked muscles
- Breaking up adhesions in the fascial layer
- Allowing for better mobility throughout the treated area
- Treating chronic painful problem areas on able-bodied individuals as well as the disabled
The suction effect of Cupping Therapy dilates and ruptures capillaries just beneath the skin. This causes the dark-colored circular spots that last for a few days.
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