Cupping therapy is a specific type of alternative medicine that involves placing cups on the skin. The cups that are used range in different types and function, some examples are glass cups, bamboo cups, silicone cups, and earthenware or clay cups. By placing the cups upside down on the skin, it creates a suction that encourages healthier and more active circulation of blood. The increased blood supply is believed to be healthy for the general functioning of the body. It can also encourage faster healing of various body parts, whatever the existing ailment may be.
How does it work?
There are three main categories of cupping performed today:
- Dry cupping – Dry cupping is a technique that uses only suction produced by a cup that is placed on the skin for around three minutes. This method also includes the making of small superficial skin incisions, followed by another round of suction used to take a minimal quantity of blood.
- Wet cupping – Wet cupping is a technique that combines suction and medicinal bleeding in order to effectively remove the harmful toxins from the body.
- Rubber pump cupping – This is the most recent technique of cupping therapy in which a rubber pump is used to create a vacuum.
Both dry and wet cupping involve the use of a flammable substance, such as paper or alcohol. This flammable material is basically placed inside a cup before it is burned. Once the fire is about to go out, the cup is placed upside down on the affected areas of the body. The natural cooling process that the cup will naturally undergo will then create a vacuum on top of the skin for around 10 minutes. The skin responds visibly due to the expansion of the blood vessels underneath it. After the vacuuming process, some reddening may be noticed.
- Herpes zoster
- Paralysis of the facial muscles
- Cervical spondylosis
- Fertility problems
- Varicose veins
What to expect?
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 are placed directly into the cup. The fire source is removed and the heated cup is placed with the open side directly on your skin. However, our practitioner is using rubber pumps to create suction versus more traditional heat methods.
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.
With dry cupping, the cup is set in place for a set time, usually between 5 and 10 minutes. With wet cupping, cups are usually only in place for a few minutes before the practitioner removes the cup and makes a small incision to draw blood. Any bruising or other marks usually go away within 10 days of the session.
Cupping is sometimes performed along with acupuncture treatments. For best results, you may also want to fast or eat only light meals for 2 to 3 hours before your cupping session.