Cupping is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine. It is an ancient Chinese method that’s based on the belief that certain health problems can be caused by stagnant blood and a poor energy flow through your body.
Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
A partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place.
Cupping therapy has been further developed as a means to open the 'Meridians' of the body There are five meridians on the back that, when opened, allow invigorating energy to travel the whole length of the body. It has been found that cupping is probably the best way of opening those meridians.
Cupping has also been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear colon blockages, help activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries, activate the skin, and improve varicose veins. Cupping is the best deep tissue massage available. Cupping, the technique, is very useful and very safe being free from side effects.
Types of cupping
There are different methods of cupping, including:
- Dry- it is limited in its therapeutic effectiveness since the blood is drawn to the surface but not released,hence the effect of improving blood flow as well as release of some heat through the pores is achieved, but it is a temporary effect.usually practiced byTCM practitioners.
- Wet- Wet cupping(Hijama) is the practice of using cups to create suction at the skin level in order to draw blood to the surface, which may then be removed to get optimum health benefits.
Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. For weight loss and cellulite treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area.
Cupping is usually done to the left and right of the spine, but painful joints or muscle hardening in other parts of the body, such as the abdomen or the legs, can also be treated with cupping. The cupping glasses remain on the skin for 10-15 minutes.
This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person's asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common maladies that cupping is used to relieve. Three thousand years ago, in the earliest Chinese documentation of cupping, it was recommended for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.
The Effect and benefits
- Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to ‘open' these channels - the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force).
- Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be ‘cupped,' thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.
- Cupping draws blood to the surface area of the body where the cups are applied. This increase blood flow relieves muscle cramping, hardening of tissue and associated pain. Because specific reflex zones on the back, abdomen and legs correspond to organs, cupping can be used to promote the workings of, say, the kidneys, gallbladder, liver or lungs.
- Cupping can also mobilize the immune system. the treatment creates temporary, localized bruises, which - like all bruises - activate the body's defensive cells to heal the bruised area.
- Cupping brings down yang or heat which is rising in the body(that may cause high B.P, migraine headaches and even lead to stroke)
- Treats emergency conditions characterized by excess heat , epilepsy and/or mania
- Removes fire toxins from the blood
- Stimulates blood production
Dry cupping is primarily used for people with a weak constitution and low blood pressure; it is never for patients with high blood pressure.
Wet cupping helps clear the body of accumulated irritants that cause inflammation.
Diseases mostly helped by cupping
- Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia
- Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Fertility and gynecological disorders
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and depression
- Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
- Varicose veins
Cupping and stress
- Cupping may be helpful in treating the more physical manifestations of stress. But, as we all know, physical symptoms are only part of the full story.
- That's why cupping works best when paired with acupuncture to help the mental side of stress. Acupuncture releases endorphins, and may be better able to help manage the root cause of your mental stress and anxiety in a more holistic way. "That’s why the combo of cupping and acupuncture works really synergistically to manage your stress from all areas."