Cupping therapy is rising in popularity today. But that does not mean it is something new. In fact, this type of therapy had been present for a very long time. It was used by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. There are even records of it being used in the Middle East. The oldest record of cupping can be seen in “Ebers Papyrus” – which dates way back to 1550 B.C.
It is a form of alternative medicine that is actually a reverse of traditional massage methods. Instead of applying pressure to the muscles and tissues, this method sucks the skin upward to put pressure on the skin and the tissues and muscles underneath. The therapist places special cups on certain parts of your body. It is a special kind of deep-tissue massage that creates suction on your skin that is believed to help with pain, blood flow, relaxation, inflammation, and overall well-being. It removes the heat and toxins from the body.
The cup used is either made of glass, silicone, bamboo or earthenware. The therapist will place a flammable substance in a cup (e.g. herbs, paper, etc) and set it on fire. When the fire is about to go out, the cup will be placed upside down on your skin. As the cup cools, a vacuum is created. This will result in the rising and reddening of the skin within the rim of the cup. The redness is caused by the expansion of the blood vessels. The cup is left on the skin for 3 minutes.
There are two types of cupping therapy: dry and wet. The dry cupping is similar to what was discussed above. The wet cupping, on the other hand, involves more. After the 3 minutes, the therapist will remove the cup and use a small scalpel to make tiny cuts on the skin. A second suction is then performed that draws out a small amount of blood. This is believed to be good for removing harmful substances from the body. Some antibiotic will be given to prevent infection.
There is also another type that combines acupuncture and cupping – wherein needles will be inserted before the cup is placed.
In the US, the cupping therapy is divided into two types: the fixed and moving cupping. As the name suggests, in the fixed cupping is placed in a part of the body and left there for a couple of minutes. The moving cupping, on the other hand, follows the same procedure except for two things. The therapist applies oil or cream on the skin so the cup can easily slide to different parts of the body.
Sometimes, a rubber cup is used to create the vacuum inside the cup. This minimizes any burning side effect on the skin.
While there is a need for more studies, cupping therapy is believed to help with acne, facial paralysis, herpes zoster, and even cervical spondylosis. Apart from that, this type of therapy can be used to treat blood disorders like anemia or hemophilia, rheumatic disease, and also gynecological disorders like fertility issues. Other problems include skin problems, varicose veins, migraines, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and bronchial congestion.
If you are considering cupping therapy, it is very important to go to a health professional or a trained therapist. Apart from burns, some side effects include mild discomfort, skin infection, and bruises. This will be minimized if you go to a professional.