Cupping is a therapy in which a small glass cup is placed on the skin surface using suction, through the removal of the air in the jar.
How does cupping work?
Cupping is pretty much an inverted massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are usually left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.
The negative pressure and suction provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage the free flow of Qi and blood, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure).
What conditions can cupping treat?
It is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It affects tissues by releasing toxins, clearing blockages, refreshing veins, and arteries up to four inches deep from the external skin.
Therefore, it is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, migraines, anxiety, fatigue, 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 therapy is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person’s asthma. 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.
Does it hurt?
As the skin under a cup is drawn up the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment.