What is cupping?
Cupping is a type of alternative therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The suction may facilitate healing with blood flow.
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.
People use cupping to complement their care for a host of issues and conditions.
What should I expect during a cupping treatment?
During a cupping treatment, a cup is placed on the skin and then heated or suctioned onto the skin. The cup is often heated with fire using alcohol, herbs, or paper that’s placed directly into the cup. The fire source is removed, and the heated cup is placed with the open side directly on your skin.
When the hot cup is placed on your skin, the air inside the cup cools and creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upward into the cup. Your skin may turn red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure.
After the cups are removed, the practitioner may cover the previously cupped areas with ointment and bandages. This helps prevent infection. Any mild bruising or other marks usually go away within 10 days of the session.
What conditions can cupping treat?
Cupping has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It may be particularly effective at easing conditions that create muscle aches and pains.
Since the cups can also be applied to major acupressure points, the practice is possibly effective at treating digestive issues, skin issues, and other conditions commonly treated with acupressure.
There aren’t many side effects associated with cupping. The side effects you may experience will typically occur during your treatment or immediately after.
Cupping therapy isn’t recommended for everyone. Extra caution should be taken for the following groups:
• Children. Children under 4 years old shouldn’t receive cupping therapy. Older children should only be treated for very short periods.
• Seniors. Our skin becomes more fragile as we age. Any medication you may be taking might have an effect as well.
• Pregnant people. Avoid cupping the abdomen and lower back.
• Those who are currently menstruating.
Don’t use cupping if you use blood-thinning medication. Also avoid cupping if you have:
• a sunburn
• a wound
• a skin ulcer
• experienced recent trauma
• an internal organ disorder