Cupping Therapy is an ancient technique of placing vacuum sealed containers on the skin to cause local congestion and promote deeper healing. This technique of treatment has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa and Asia. The ancient Chinese applied hollow animal horns to the patient’s skin sucked out all the air and plugged the hole with one finger. This draws up the underlying tissue and when left for a few minutes causes blood stasis and localized healing
Conventional cupping was developed with the introduction of glass and would use bell shaped glasses with openings about 1 – 2½ inches across. Before applying to the skin, the therapist would dip a burning cotton ball in alcohol and briefly hold it in the cupping glass. When the glass is applied to the skin, the warmed air inside quickly cools and contracts, creating a vacuum that causes the glass to adhere to the skin by suction.
Cupping draws blood to the surface area of the body where the cups are applied. This increase in blood flow relieves muscle cramping, hardening of tissue and associated pain. Because specific reflex zones on the back, abdomen and legs correspond to organs, cupping can be used to promote the function of the kidneys, gallbladder, liver or lungs etc. Cupping can also mobilize the immune system.
Cupping therapy has been further developed as a means to open the meridians of the body. Meridians are the conduits in the body through which energy or Qi flows to every part of the body and through every organ and tissue. There are five meridians on the back that, when opened, allow invigorating energy to travel the whole length of the body. It has been found that cupping is probably the best way of opening those meridians. Cupping is often used in the treatment of respiratory, digestive, gynecological and pain syndromes, to name a few.
Following the treatment you should make sure that you drink enough water to remain well hydrated and do not do any vigorous exercise. Rest is important for the recovery and you may feel drowsy during and after treatment. The treatment will cause localized bruises, which – like all bruises – activate the body’s defense cells to heal the bruised area. These bruises usually disappear within a week.
Cupping Massage or Dynamic Cupping
In cupping massage, the patient’s back is lubricated with oil; the therapist then pulls a large massage cupping glass with a very rounded edge across the back with slow, even movements. This cupping technique is usually done along the bladder meridian, about 1½ inch either side of the spine. Located on it are the ‘influence’ points for all the internal organs and can be stimulated through cupping massage.
Cupping therapy is the best deep tissue massage available. Cupping has been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear colon blockages, help activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries, activate the skin, clear stretch marks and improve varicose veins.