Cupping therapy is an ancient therapeutic practice that was popular through most of Europe, Egypt, Africa and China from as far back as the 5th Century BC. It is a wonderfully versatile therapy with many different techniques allowing it to be beneficial for a variety of conditions.
Cupping involves a vacuum being created inside a specialized glass cup, then positioned onto the body. The vacuum creates suction, drawing a small amount of skin and tissue into the cup. This drawing up of tissue, or ‘lift’ is what gives such great therapeutic results. By lifting and stretching tight muscles and adhesions cupping encourages blood and lymph to flow to the area. This aids stagnation (metabolic waste) to be cleared out of the area into the surrounding tissue for eventual elimination.
Cupping therapy has wide spread applications. While is is best known for its ability to treat musclo-skeletal injuries and tight, tense muscles it can also be used in the treatment of:
- Lung condition such as asthma, upper respiratory infections and bronchitis.
- Menstrual disorders.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Digestive conditions.
- Beauty therapies such as cellulite reduction and facial cupping.
The musculo-skeletal benefits of cupping are often pictured in the press with photos of big round circular marks on athletes bodies. These dark marks will come up if there is a lot of stagnation in the area or the cupping technique is strong. This not always the case though. Depending on what is being treated, how much stagnation is present and the particular cupping technique there may be minimal to no marking. In fact the intensity and shade of cupping marks will change as treatment progresses. It is also worth noting that these marks are not bruises, they are not painful and will simply fade away.
When done correctly cupping can be a deeply relaxing experience. The pressure and intensity is adjusted according to the patients needs and tolerance. The experience is often likened to a deep tissue massage, just less painful.