An ancient form of alternative medicine, cupping therapy has grown in popularity in the US in recent years.
Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C. for lung conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia.
The process of cupping therapy involves a therapist placing special cups on the patient’s skin for a few minutes to create suction. The therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, they put the cup upside down on your skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise as your blood vessels expand.
The cups are usually glass, but may also be made of bamboo, earthenware and silicone.
People rely on cupping therapy for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
Maybe you’ve even seen people at the gym or swimming pool with those tell-tale red circles on their backs and shoulders? It’s becoming more common for people to request cupping to relieve chronic muscle soreness. But did you know that cupping can be used to treat many other health concerns? Let’s explore a few.
The suction from the cups increases circulation to the area where the cups are placed. The additional blood flow to that area can help relieve muscle tension and promote cell repair.
Release of Toxins
While there are bodily organs that remove toxins from your blood, the today’s typical lifestyle overloads the body with toxins. Cupping gives your body a boost in releasing those toxins. Focused blood flow helps your body by flushing built-up toxins through the lymphatic system, the system responsible for eliminating your body’s toxins and waste.
Your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for slowing your heart rate, assisting in digestion, and increasing intestinal and gland activity. When your therapist glides the cups across your skin, your parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, promoting deep relaxation through your entire body.
Reduce Stretch Marks and Scars
Increased blood flow allows your body to dispose of toxins, restore lymphatic circulation, and help remove edema (excess fluid), which helps reduce the appearance of scarring. Studies have shown the positive effects of cupping on stretch marks and scars even in areas beyond the area where the cups are applied.
Improve varicose veins and spider veins
Varicose veins look like bulging, bluish veins just under your skin, often on legs and feet. They occur when the valves inside the vein don’t effectively push the blood from the muscle back to the heart. The blood congests causing the veins to twist and bulge.
Cupping brings fresh blood flow and oxygen back to the problem areas. You’ll notice your varicose veins appear lighter after just one session, though it will take a series of cupping sessions for long lasting results.
Clear Congestion and Treat Asthma
Congestion is when there is a buildup of fluid or phlegm in your lungs, often caused by a cold, bronchitis, or even asthma.
The suction from cupping breaks up and expels congestion, bringing oxygen rich blood toward the lungs and other respiratory muscles. Cups are usually placed on your back, but may be placed on your chest as well, leaving the cups in place, or gently gliding them in an upward motion to facilitate the movement of the lymph fluid. Facial cupping can also be used to help unblock your sinuses.
When cupping engages the parasympathetic nervous system, it increases blood flow to the digestive tract. Gentle cupping over the abdomen stimulates the insides of your digestive organs, aiding in peristalsis (the contractions that push food through your digestive tract). Cupping helps clear colon blockages, encourages blood and body-fluid to move through your organs, and helps relieve indigestion.
Let’s Get Social