What is Cupping?

Cupping is a popular form of TCM, that uses small cups on the body to create a suction, which encourages Qi, Blood and oxygen to the area to aid healing. Originally hollowed out animal horns, shells or similar natural resources were used to treat snake bites, boils and other such ailments, in the belief that Cupping could extract toxins from the body. These days; glass, bamboo, earthenware or silicone are rather used, as they are more efficient and hygienic. The type used with depend on the practitioner and what type of Cupping they are doing.

Different types of Cupping:

  • Dry Cupping
  • Wet Cupping (Not practiced much in the UK).
  • Massage Cupping

In all the different types of Cupping, various things can be placed inside the cup; such as alcohol, herbs or paper, and set on fire. As the fire dies, it creates a vacuum in the cup. This causes your skin to rise and redden as the blood vessels expand. The cup is usually left on 3-20 minutes. A lubricant may be placed on the skin prior to the Cupping, so that the cups may be moved around to massage the skin and underlying tissue.

Examples of what Cupping might help with:

The use of Cupping has been popular across a few different cultures, including the Chinese, and the Egyptians. The Chinese have used Cupping in various ways, from diverting blood flow from a surgical site, to more day to day treatments of varying conditions, such as pain, inflammation, circulation issues, chest infections or congestion, and even for relaxation and massage.

  • Weight loss, cellulite reduction.
  • Painful muscles, muscle injury, increasing blood circulation to muscles and tissue, drainage of excess fluids
  • Loosening and relieving pain from deep scar tissue and connective muscle tissue
  • Detoxification of the channels
  • Respiratory conditions

Cupping is a popular supportive treatment for athletes, as it encourages blood flow and calms the nervous system. By increasing blood flow to the affected areas, it promotes muscle healing, increases motion and soothes sore and tired muscles. This is particularly popular in sports with constant muscle use, such as swimming, cycling and gymnastics.

Is Cupping safe?

Yes, although, due to blood being forced through Cupping to the surface of the skin, it may cause slight bruising or redness. The bruises or redness tends to be darker, the more toxins are in the body. As the markings are not caused from blunt force trauma, they should not be painful. These symptoms will usually disappear within a few days.

Patients that bleed easily or have varicose veins, or those who may be pregnant, may not be good candidates for Cupping.

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