Cupping therapy is a form of ancient alternative medicine that originated in China. It is based on the belief that certain health conditions are generally caused by stagnant blood and poor energy flow through the body. In order to fix or prevent those health issues from occurring, practitioner apply cups at certain points of the skin to create suction. The pressure created from the suction helps in drawing blood to the specific area and increasing blood flow. The increase in blood flow can help relieve muscle tension, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation.
Similar to acupuncture, cupping is based on the meridian theory of the body and the cups are placed on acupuncture points. Cupping helps in rejuvenating certain meridians and organs that are not in optimal condition.
The cups used in cupping therapy can be made from glass, bamboo, earthenware, or silicone. There are two different methods of cupping, dry and wet.
For both cupping methods, the therapist puts a flammable substance and set in on fire. As the fire goes it, the cup is applied to the skin in upside down position. A vacuum is created as the air inside the cup gets cold. This causes the skin to rise and redden because of the expansion of the blood vessels. The cup is generally applied on the skin for up to 3 minutes.
In wet cupping, the therapist creates a small incision on the skin before placing the cup. This helps the cup to suction and draw a small quantity of blood. It is believed that the blood drawn contains the impurities and toxins in the blood.
Afterwards, the therapist applies an antibiotic ointment and bandage on the affected skin to prevent infection.
Mild bruises or other marks are usually seen after a cupping treatment and may go away within 10 days after the session.
Cupping has several health benefits which include:
Cupping is generally believed to be useful in treating pain, gastrointestinal disorders, and lung diseases.