Cupping greatly enhances Qi and Blood flow to facilitate healing. It is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy dating back at least 2000 years. The actual cup can be made of materials such as bamboo, glass, plastic or earthenware and is placed on the skin.
The Benefits of Cupping
Through suction the skin is gently drawn upwards by creating a vacuum in the cup over the target area of the skin. This suction is created using either fire cups or mechanical devices like vacuum pumps. The cups stay in place for five to fifteen minutes during treatment. Due to the negative pressure provided by the suction muscles can be loosened and blood circulation is encouraged.
Cupping may assist in easing muscle knots, swelling and pain. It is often applied for back and neck pains and stiff and tight muscles in general.
By dispelling stagnant blood and lymph and thereby improving Qi flow, cupping greatly enhances and promotes healing. In order to have optimal health we need to have good blood circulation. When this is not the case we can have many chronic health conditions that are difficult to treat. Cupping may be an appropriate treatment strategy combined with acupuncture for asthma, back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Depending on the specific application of the cups, skin markings are common after they are removed from the body. This may be a simple red rings that disappear quickly, or darker discolourations resembling bruises. They appear when stagnant blood is lifted up from congested capillary beds, allowing new blood to enter to nourish the local tissues.
Cupping therapy is also applied for a whole range of other conditions. Numerous reviews on the efficacy of cupping therapy have been published. According to a meta-analysis by Huijuan Cao et al. 2012 cupping therapy combined with acupuncture or medications showed significant benefit over other treatments alone for herpes zoster, acne, facial paralysis, and cervical spondylosis.