Cupping is a type of alternative therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. Cupping is often performed using glass cups that are rounded like balls and open on one end.
You may have noticed at the last Olympics some of the world’s top athletes and swimmers appearing with red circles on their backs and shoulders. This is because they are using cupping therapy to increase the healing response after intense exercise.
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.
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 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 using alcohol, herbs, or paper that’s placed directly into the cup. The fire source is removed, and the heated cup is placed with the open side on your skin. 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. With wet cupping, cups are usually only in place for a few minutes before the practitioner removes the cup and makes a small incision to draw blood.
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.
The researchers found that cupping therapy may help with the following conditions, among others: shingles, facial paralysis, cough and dyspnoea, acne, lumbar disc herniation, cervical spondylosis.