What Is Cupping Therapy And How Can It Help You?

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a Chinese medicine practitioner applying cupping therapy to a person's backCupping is a very ancient practice believed to have originated from Indo China thousands of years ago. It is a very primitive form of therapy. However, it’s benefits are still just as effective as they ever have been.

Cupping is also a therapy that is widely practised throughout Asia, and indeed, the whole world. Cupping therapy was also well received and adopted across Eastern Europe and Russia a few hundred years ago.

How Does Cupping Therapy Work?

Cupping therapy works by creating a vacuum with a flame inside a glass cup and then allowing it to attach to a person’s skin with a sucking action. Once applied, the cups are either left in place for a duration or moved up and down the surface of the skin in order to stimulate blood flow and create movement through the muscles and tissues.

In ancient times, pieces of bamboo carved into wooden cups were used for cupping therapy. Nowadays, it is more common that a practitioner uses a cup made out of glass. Some budget cups are also made out of plastic. However, the preference among cupping and Chinese medicine therapists today is that of the glass variety. Cupping is also a commonly used technique among acupuncture practitioners all over the world.

Benefits Of Cupping

cupping therapy on the back of the thighCupping has a variety of uses and benefits. Here are some of the more common uses:

  • To help improve blood flow to an area of the body
  • To help soften and relax tight or stiff muscles
  • To assist with lymph drainage
  • To help remove internal cold or damp from the body
  • To help move stuck bowel matter causing constipation
  • To help remove blood stagnation

The Common Techniques Of Cupping

The practice of therapeutic cupping has several different methods for the application. Here are some of the most common techniques that you may come across:

Stationary Cupping

This method is when cups are left in place on the body in order to create a strong suction in a static spot or position. In this method, the practitioner may apply several cups to a large area, such as the back. This technique may be used in cases of bronchitis, for example, in order to suck out any cold or damp that is left in the lungs.

Slide Cupping

With the technique of slide cupping, a layer of oil is first applied to the back and then the cups are applied on top. In this method, fewer cups are used. The practitioner will then begin to slide the cups back and forth over a specific area in order to stimulate blood flow, break down scar tissue int he muscles and eliminate toxins and trapped wind.

Blood Letting

This form of cupping is fairly common in Asia, but less so in the West. In this method, the practitioner first locates areas of blood stagnation that is resulting in poor health. Once the point is located, the practitioner will prick the skin with a needle in order to draw blood. The cup is then placed on top of the injured area to suck out the stagnant blood.

Using this method sounds brutal, but it has many health benefits once the stagnant blood is removed. When there is stagnant blood, the first few drops that emit from the body are a very dark or even black colour in some cases. The practitioner will leave the cups in place until the blood runs normal colour.

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