From Michael Phelps to Gwyneth Paltrow to Justin Bieber, many popular figures have made headlines in recent years for their use of cupping. At this point, the red-purple cup marks are easily identifiable, whether in the Olympic pool or on the red carpet. While these painless discolorations fade in a couple of days, the impact of cupping on contemporary culture is enduring.
Despite its trendy status, cupping has actually been around for over 3000 years. First documented in ancient China during the Han Dynasty, cupping has since been said to treat a variety of conditions, from coughs to snake bites. In the 1950s, it became an official form of therapeutic medicine, gaining support from hospitals around the world. Since then, numerous studies have proven cupping to be able to relieve pain better than most conventional drugs and treatments.
While the scope of practice and research continues to expand, very little has changed about the actual methodology. Modern therapeutic practice entails using a heated/pumped-up cup or suction device to create negative pressure (suction) between an area of skin and the cup. The pressure applied to the skin opens the pores, repairs cells, and stimulates blood flow between layers of skin. This holistic treatment can be used to provide physical and emotional relief to conditions such as chronic pain, tension, inflammation, illnesses, colds, and acne.
If you’ve followed the craze to any extent, you probably know at least a little bit about it. Whatever knowledge you may possess, there’s always more to learn. Stick around to find out 6 lesser known facts about the ancient healing method.
Cupping Therapy – 6 Things You May Not Know
1. The Color of The Cupping Marks Indicates Health
The color tone of the “bruises” left after cupping are based on the levels of stagnation and toxins in your blood. For first-time cuppers or people suffering from deep injuries, the color of the cupping mark may appear darker. Light-colored marks indicate improved detoxification, circulation, and drainage. Theoretically, the color of your marks should appear lighter after repeated treatments.
2. It Can Target Highly-Specific Locations
Cupping can be applied to extremities like the wrists, hands, head, and also feet, targeting specific pains and conditions. If you are experiencing acute tension or pain, it may be a perfect solution.
3. Cupping Can Work with Other Modalities to Increase Its Benefits
The benefits improve when used in conjunction with acupuncture. Indeed, both cupping and acupuncture work to activate meridian points, promoting the flow of qi (energy) in the body.
4. It Can Benefit Your Mental Health
Many people experience an emotional benefit, including reduced stress and a feeling of relaxation. By treating a chronic pain or illness, the associated health anxiety is also reduced. This can be incredibly soothing. Some recipients even claim cupping therapy helps treat their depression and anxiety by feeling “mentally rejuvenated.”
5. Cupping is Very Fast
A typical treatment may take between 3 and 20 minutes, meaning that you can have all the benefits of an hour-long massage or days of medicine, in minutes. Furthermore, many patients notice immediate results, such as noticeable pain relief.
6. It Can Help the Digestive System
Certain cupping points can also work with the parasympathetic nervous system, which may aid peristalsis (digestion process), boost gut health, and reduce bloating and abdominal pain.
For more about cupping, or to schedule an appointment, contact Lindsay Matthews M.Ac.O.M, L.Ac at River City Wellness & Acupuncture. Lindsay has over a decade of experience practicing Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and this includes cupping therapy, moxibustion and more. Call (502) 822-0626 for information or to schedule an appointment.