Cupping your way back to health

By: May 06, 2013
What is cupping

This unique form of therapy is being used to treat a number of conditions with great success.

Ancient therapy and medicinal traditions have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Cupping, a close kin to acupuncture, is one of those ancient remedies for pain that is getting a lot of press lately due to its proven effectiveness.

Cupping works to rid the body of unnecessary toxins that may be harmful to the body, promoting blood circulation and pain relief. This unique form of therapy is being used to treat a number of conditions with great success.

What Exactly is Cupping Therapy? 

Cupping therapy involves cups, made of glass, bamboo or other materials, that are placed onto the skin to create suction. It is the suction that is believed to mobilize blood flow and promote healing to the body. 

Avid diplomats of Ancient Oriental medicine claim that the therapy balances the flow of qi (Chee or Chi), which is known as life energy. Improved circulation and toxin removal is among the benefits related to cupping. 

How is Cupping Performed?

There are two types of cupping, dry and wet combinations. The dry cupping procedure involves the suction only, while the wet cupping process uses a combination of suction along with controlled medicinal bleeding. It is the dry cupping therapeutic procedure that is more commonly practiced in the United States and Canada. 

During both types of procedures, a substance that ignites easily is generally mixed with herbs, are placed inside the cup and set on fire. When the fire goes out, the cup is then placed onto the patient’s skin in particular and affected areas. 

The air inside the cup cools and creates suction on the skin, much like a vacuum. The suction is generally applied for five to ten minutes. During this time the skin rises and reddens as blood vessels expand near the surface.  If the skin breaks during therapy, antibiotics may be applied to the skin following the procedure. The skin usually returns back to its normal colour within one week to ten days. 

Who Benefits from Cupping Therapy?

A wide variety of ailments can be treated with cupping therapy, but the most widespread condition is pain. Chronic pain sufferers are finding relief from seeing a licensed acupuncturist or pain relief specialist who works with the cupping technique. 

Many patients receive cupping along with acupuncture as a supplemental treatment for pain. Such conditions treated with this form of therapy include acupuncture, dysmenorrhea, abdominal pain, menopause, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis and sinus conditions. Chronic pain sufferers are finding relief to be possible through the use of this modern yet ancient medicinal therapy. 

In 2011, a study conducted with the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany revealed that chronic cervical spine (neck) pain sufferers showed a 45% decrease in pain after receiving treatments of cupping therapy. While the therapy dates back until 1550 B.C., new studies are underway to show the effectiveness of this ancient practice.