What is Cupping Therapy?
Before learning about the cupping therapy benefits, you must know what it really is. Cupping therapy can be defined as a type of alternative medicine in which special cups are put on the skin for some time for suction. It is used for various purposes such as pain, anxiety and stress, inflammation, acne and blood flow. It is also considered a deep-tissue massage. The cups used in the therapy are made of different materials such as:
Cupping therapy is not new. It has been around for many centuries and dates back to the ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern Cultures. In fact, according to Ebers Papyrus (the oldest medical textbook in the world), the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C to treat different ailments.
Different Types of Cupping Therapy
Different methods of cupping are as follow:
- Dry Cupping
- Wet Cupping
What Happens During the Cupping Process?
In both the cupping types, your therapist places a flammable substance such as herbs, alcohol, and paper in a cup and sets it on fire. The fire is put out after some time after which the cup is placed upside down on your skin.
A vacuum environment is created when the air inside the cup cools down. This helps your blood vessels to expand, which slightly turns your skin red. The cup is generally placed for a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 5 to 10 minutes.
The modern cupping version uses a rubber pump as an alternative to fire to create a vacuum. Therapists also use silicone cups which can be moved from one point to another on your skin to produce a massaging effect.
The cup is also placed for a minimum of 3 minutes in wet cupping. After a mild suction environment is created, the therapist removes the cup and makes a tiny incision on your skin through a scalpel. A second suction is done to draw blood in a small quantity.
The cupped areas are covered with ointment and bandages after removing the cups. This is done to prevent infection from occurring. All the bruises and marks are healed within 10 days of the cupping session.
Which method to use? Well, this is decided by your therapist according to your medical condition.
Cupping is also done in combination with acupuncture treatments. To achieve the best results, it is recommended to either fast or have a light meal two to three hours prior to the cupping session.
What are the Cupping Therapy Benefits?
According to a report published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2015, Cupping therapy helps with skin diseases such as acne and herpes zoster. It also aids in pain management. A similar study done by Australian and Chinese researchers in 2012 was published in PLoS One. It showed similar results. According to this study, cupping therapy becomes more effective when combined with alternative treatments such as acupuncture. Cupping Benefits also include:
- Herpes zoster
- Facial paralysis
- Cervical spondylosis
However, according to researchers, those studies still need more research. The British Cupping Society suggests cupping therapy for treating the following health issues:
- Anemia and hemophilia
- Arthritis and Fibromyalgia
- Fertility Problems
- Eczema and Acne
- High Blood Pressure
- Anxiety and Depression
- Varicose Veins
However, scientific research is still required to back their cupping benefits claim.
What are the Cupping Dangers: Is Cupping Dangerous?
Wondering about the cupping dangers? Well, don’t worry, Cupping is quite safe, if you get it from a certified health expert. However, it can still cause some skin issues such as skin infection, burns, and discomfort. Most people refer to them as the cupping bruises. The cupping equipment also needs to be sterilized properly otherwise cupping blood can spread diseases such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Last but not the least, it is recommended to consult with your doctor before proceeding with the cupping therapy.