Cupping Therapy

Alternative Medicine from the East

Cupping therapy is an alternative form of medicine and is perhaps better known as a traditional Chinese Medicine, like acupuncture.

Cupping used to be performed using hollowed out animal horns and was a method employed to treat boils, snakebites, and skin lesions. The cupping method was said to pull toxins from the body. The application of cupping throughout the years has evolved from the use of animal horns to bamboo cups, and then to the glass cups, we see used today. A cupping set can also be made from earthenware and silicone materials that can withstand being exposed to elevated temperatures during the heating process.

Targeted Healing

Several other cultures used cupping therapy as a method to treat several different ailments. The Chinese have been reported to use cupping during surgical procedures to help divert the blood flow from the surgical site. American and European doctors have used cupping in sports medicine and to treat more common ailments such as the common cold and chest infections and congestion.

The basic idea behind cupping therapy is to place glass cups or silicone cups on the patient’s skin to create a vacuum, so the blood is drawn to the surface of the skin in specific parts of the body that need healing. Traditional Chinese practitioners discuss different areas, or meridians, of the body that are used to transfer energy. They believe each body has twelve different meridians and treatment can be applied to each meridian for a myriad of reasons.

What Are the Effects of Cupping Therapy

After employing the cupping method, it is common to find that small bruises or redness will remain on the treated areas of the body, most commonly the back. This is due to all the blood being forced to the surface of the skin. It is believed that if there is the presence of higher amount of toxins in an individual’s body, then the redness will be deeper and more noticeable. However, the fewer toxins present in the body, the individual will experience a reduced amount of visible cupping bruises from using this method. Other side effects due to the cupping method may include mild discomfort, bruising, burns and skin infections. Before beginning cupping therapy, it is advised you speak with a trained healthcare professional about the risks and benefits.

How Does Cupping Therapy Work?

The back is the most common area that is used for cupping therapy because the back has five meridian lines that provide perfect placement for the cups. Depending on the conditions and the reasons the patient is receiving cupping therapy, the alternative medicine practitioner will determine how many cups to use and how long to place each cup. The time for each cup can vary between three and ten minutes depending on the severity of the condition.

While cupping may produce several bruises and swelling on the site area, it is relatively painless. The marks experienced after a cupping session can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. The bruises are not caused due to any form of blunt trauma. Therefore, they should not hurt.

When the cups are applied to the skin, the patient may experience a tight or pulling feeling because the skin is being drawn into the cup.

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