Cupping therapy is an ancient, alternative treatment that was developed through several cultures across the world. It started as a therapy based on superstitions when people had a little clue regarding physiological mechanisms of health.
It is called by different names. The healers have used cupping to treat several ailments, ranging from musculoskeletal, dermal, digestive, and psychological conditions, like depression, anxiety, and stress. The therapy can be used for treating physical illnesses resulting from mental stress and anxiety.
Cupping Therapy Benefits:
Below is a detailed description of what exactly is meant by cupping therapy and its various benefits:
What Is Cupping Therapy:
Cupping is a type of alternative therapy that started in China. The therapy involves placing cups onto the skin to create suction. The cups can be made up of bamboo, glass, and plastic.
The suction facilitates healing with blood flow, and flow of ‘qi’ in the body. Qi is Chinese word which meant life force.
Cupping can increase blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This can relieve muscle tension, improve overall blood flow, and promote cell repair. It can also help in forming connective tissues and creating new blood vessels in the tissue.
People started using cupping to treat various ailments and conditions.
Different Types Of Cupping Therapy:
Cupping was originally done using animal horns. Later the cups were made from bamboo and ceramic. The suction was primarily created using heat. The cups were originally heated using fire and then applied onto the skin. As they cooled down, the cups drew the skin inside.
Modern cupping is often done using glass cups that are shaped like balls and open on one end. There are two categories of cupping done today:
- Dry cupping, which is a suction-only method
- Wet cupping, which may involve both suction and controlled medicinal bleeding
Your practitioner, medical condition, and preference can help determine which method can be used.
During the cupping treatment, a cup is placed onto the skin and then heated or suctioned. The cup is often heated with fire with the use of alcohol, paper, or herbs that are placed directly into the cup. The fire sources are removed and the heated cup is placed using the open side directly on your skin.
There are modern cupping practitioners that have shifted to using rubber pumps to create suction and given up on traditional heat methods.
When the hot cup is placed onto the skin, the air inside the cup cools down and creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upward into the cup. Your skin turns red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure.
With the dry cupping, the cup is set in place for a set time, between 5-10 minutes.
At present, the most common method of cupping is known as wet cupping. In this type of treatment, the therapist will slice the skin to boost blood flow. This is performed for several purposes. These include the removal of blood clots, driving out heat, and treatment for different afflictions.
In the past, cupping was performed to cleanse the blood and the energy present in the blood. In Arabic, wet cupping is known as hijama and it’s being performed to date. Similar to other ancient alternative treatments, the practitioners make use of similar methods. They modify the ancient methods of making the treatment more acceptable to modern patients.
With wet cupping, cups are usually kept in place for few minutes before the practitioner removes the cup and make a small incision to draw out blood.
After the cups are removed, the medical professional may cover the earlier cupped areas using ointment and bandages. This can help in preventing infection. Any bruising or marks may go off within 10 days of the session.
Wet cupping is best done when performed on an empty stomach. Hence if a person is going for this treatment, it’s advised that he doesn’t consume anything beforehand. After the cupping therapy, any strenuous physical activities should also not be done, for at least 24 hours. Showering should also be avoided for the next 24 hours after wet cupping.
Sometimes cupping is performed along with acupuncture treatment. For best results, you may also want to take fast or light meals every 2-3 hours before your cupping sessions.
13 Benefits of cupping therapy:
Cupping therapy, in Islam or hijama, means to suck in and return to a normal state of balance. It restores body in creating a balanced environment by removing acidity. This can help to fix any problem that the body has, to bring it to its normal state.
If you are wondering what to expect after cupping, learn that the therapy can remove toxins from your body through its holistic ways. It can also help in expelling negative and unhealthy elements from your body.
Cupping has been used for treating several conditions. It may especially be effective at treating conditions that create muscle aches and pains. Since the cups can also be applied to acupressure points, the therapy can possibly be effective to treat digestive issues, skin problems, and other conditions treatable with acupressure.
A study published in journal PLoS One established that cupping therapy suggests its healing power. The researchers suggested that cupping therapy can help with several conditions amongst others, like herpes zoster, facial paralysis, cough and dyspnea, acne, lumbar disc herniation, and cervical spondylosis.
Pain relief is one of the reasons people start using cupping therapy. A study of clinical trials published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested that in comparison with traditional treatment, cupping offers positive effects to relieve cancer pain.
Cupping can target soft issues using pressure applied to pain points and swelling areas. This can help to increase blood flow and provide tissues the essential nutrients. It is believed that cupping can help in releasing tissues from deep within our body, relax tense muscles, and stiffness related to neck and back pain, migraines, and rheumatism.
Medical practitioners can make use of pressure with heat and suction. This can allow energy to flow along the channels, which can pass through the injury.
2. Treat Allergies And Asthma:
Cupping can help in stimulating the lungs and other vital organs to clear out phlegm. Excessive phlegm in the lungs can trigger coughing. Practicing cupping therapy can help in speeding up the process of treating cold, allergy symptoms, and asthma. It can also help in boosting the immune system to move blood lymphatic fluid across the body.
3. Relaxing And De-Stressing:
If we do not take time to relax, the stress can lead to several health conditions and mental issues, like depression and anxiety. A deep tissue massage can be a wonderful way to relax and relieve pressure from tense muscles. The act of this therapy involves a practitioner to have positive effects on overall the well-being.
After all the cups are placed on the skin and suctioned, they generally remain for about 20 minutes, which compels one to be still to be put into a relaxed state and sedate the central nervous system.
Poor blood circulation can lead to toxin build-up inside the body’s tissues. The buildup can be the cause of several health conditions. Cupping therapy can help in improving stagnation, while the blood rushes to the area that is being treated to flush off toxins. In addition to toxins, it can help in clearing dead skin cells and debris. All of these wastes are then expelled naturally. This is the reason why drinking plenty of water after a cupping therapy can be a good idea to flush off impurities and promote better health.
5. Reduce Inflammation:
Inflammation is a part of our body’s defense mechanism, which can help in treating illness and injury. If you suffer from a muscular injury, the first step you will probably take is rush to get an ice pack. When it is allowed to become inflamed, that can actually help in flooding the injured muscle with blood, nutrients, white blood cells, platelets, and fibroblasts to help in the healing process. The cupping therapy can work in the same ways to draw out blood to the affected area so that blood vessels are formed. It can help in healing knots, adhesions, and heal body faster from intense workout sessions.
6. Clearer Skin
Cupping can be tried for treating several skin conditions, like acne, eczema, herpes, skin inflammation, and cellulite.
If one suffers from eczema, suction is applied on specific points of the body, like the top end of the spinal cord, above the ankle, and below the knee.
For treating acne, practitioners can cup the affected area in order to remove the breakout.
Similar to cellulite treatment, cupping is performed after the oil is applied to the skin. The cups are then suctioned and moved to generate heat to the area.
Cupping therapy is believed to treat diseases, which is a result of the flow of positive energy in the body. Clearing the congestions causes the body to heal by itself. Cupping therapy helps in drawing blood to the affected area and energizing skin tissues.
7. Cellulite Reduction:
If there is one issue that most people like to treat, then it is cellulite. The lumpy, bumpy surface of the skin remains, even after the immense amount of dieting or exercise.
One effective treatment for cellulite reduction is cupping. This therapy can help to reduce fluid buildup, remove dead skin cells, and create smoother skin.
There are new methods and treatments that are introduced all the time for slowing down the ageing process.
Likewise, the cupping therapy is used for centuries to attain smoother and clearer skin to make you look younger.
9. Relieves Digestive Problems:
A weak digestive system is a common problem. One of the primary methods to relieve digestive problems is cupping. The therapy can reduce stress levels and promote relaxation to make it particularly effective for chronic stress-based conditions.
10. Reduction In Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms:
If you have felt the stabbing pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, you may try cupping treatment. Just one session of cupping therapy can significantly reduce the symptoms.
11. Boost Immune System:
Cupping is particularly effective at dislodging and draining mucus and phlegm from sinus and respiratory system. The therapy can also boost the immune system for promoting the faster healing process.
12. Relief From a Migraine:
Migraine headaches can be difficult to treat and differs from person-to-person. According to National Institutes of Health, cupping has shown a great response to reduce a migraine, headache pain, and symptoms.
13. Reduction In Back Pain:
Back pain is one of the most common health problems according to the Mayo Clinic. A study established that cupping is an effective method to find immediate relief from chronic pain, including back pain and neck pain.
Side-Effects Of Cupping Therapy:
There are not many side effects of cupping. The side effects you may experience can commonly occur during your treatment or immediately after.
The common cupping therapy side effects are:
After the treatment, the skin around the cup rim may become itchy. You may also experience pain in the incision areas or feel lightheaded or dizzy shortly after the session.
There is also a slight risk of infection after undergoing cupping therapy. The risk is minor and is usually avoidable if the practitioner follows the correct method of cleansing skin and controlling infection, before and after the session.
Other Risks Of Cupping Therapy:
- Skin scarring
Your practitioner should wear an apron, disposable gloves, and goggles, or other eye protection. They should also make use of clean equipment and get vaccinated to ensure protection against several diseases, like hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). You should consult well-experienced practitioners for your own safety.
Additional Facts About Cupping Therapy:
Most medical professionals do not require training or background in complementary and alternative medicine. Your doctor may be wary or uncomfortable with answering queries related to healing methods like cupping.
There are some CAM practitioners that are maybe particularly enthusiastic about their methods and even suggest to skip your conventional medical treatments as advised by your doctor. If you do want to try cupping as part of your treatment, you should discuss your decision with your doctor. Continue making regular visits to your doctor to get the best treatment.
Cupping therapy is not recommended for everyone. They are not an option for children, elderly people, pregnant women, and menstruating women.
Additionally, you may not benefit from cupping therapy if you are suffering from internal organ disorders.
How To Prepare For Cupping Therapy:
If you choose to try cupping therapy, consider using it as a complement to your current doctor visits.
Here are few things to consider before starting off with cupping therapy:
- What conditions does the cupping practitioner specialize in?
- What method of cupping does the practitioner make use of?
- Is the treatment process clean? Does the practitioner take safety measurements?
- Does the practitioner have any certifications?
- Do you have a condition that can benefit from cupping?
Before starting off with any alternative therapy, remember to let your doctor know that you’re planning to incorporate cupping therapy to your treatment plan.
And remember, you don’t need to tackle all health issues all at once. Just select one area where you really need relief, like back pain or allergies, and try cupping. Try to note how you feel after the treatment. If you feel relieved, then you can try it again! You can look up for experienced therapists if you want to try out cupping in India.