Cupping is one of the oldest methods used in traditional Chinese medicine. Though the exact origin is often debated, cupping was first documented in Egypt in one of the oldest medical textbooks known to date. It is now used widely throughout the world, most notably by professional athletes and Hollywood stars alike, many of whom find cupping to be an integral part of their care.
What is Cupping?
Cupping entails warming air inside of a cup that is then placed on the body. The cups can be made of glass, ceramic, bamboo, plastic or rubber. Usually no more than three or five cups are used at once for a set period of time.
The cups are heated by burning herbs, paper, or alcohol within them. Once the heating element is removed, the open face of each cup is then placed on the skin. This creates a vacuum of negative pressure and stimulates the skin by opening up the pores and encouraging blood flow.
The Benefits of Cupping
Getting blood flowing in the body is naturally healing and offers a cathartic release, whether it be in the form of emotional tension or physical ailment. Specifically, cupping has been known to be beneficial in the treatment of chronic pain conditions, digestive or respiratory issues, the cold or flu, and even stress. The concept is also an effective therapy for muscle tightness or deep scar tissues in the neck, shoulder, back, leg or abdomen, as it is thought to help form new connective tissues and blood vessels. According to the Journal of Integrative Medicine, “a growing body of research is providing additional evidence-based data for the further advancement of cupping therapy in the treatment of a variety of diseases.”
How does it work?
Similar to other alternative healing practices, cupping helps to realign the flow of the body. Traditional chinese medicine philosophizes that the body’s energy (called “qi” and pronounced “chee”) keeps our bodies negative and positive forces (known as yin and yang) balanced in order to maintain our health. When this energy flow becomes blocked, we may feel pain or loss of function
By opening up the poors and increasing blood flow, cupping removes any obstructions by drawing out the toxins in our body. The goal is to extract the pathogen out of the body before it has a chance to settle deeper and make the sickness worse.
Most who receive cupping therapy do not experience pain. In fact, it is often described as feeling akin to a deep tissue massage. While cupping does leave red or purple marks on the body, they are temporary and fade away within 10 days or less of treatment.
At River City Wellness, cupping can be used in conjunction with needles for optimal effect. If you’re looking to consider cupping as your next treatment strategy, feel free to schedule an appointment by visiting us online or contacting us at (502) 822-0626.