In both Eastern and Western cultures, cupping evolved from the highly held belief that illness and infirmity could be sucked out of the body, and there is some evidence that reveal cupping was a recommended treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, three thousand years ago.
Cupping is a term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices placed on the skin. It is a form of alternative medicine in which a therapist essentially puts special cups on the skin to create suction, as a type of deep-tissue massage. A practitioner creates the suction in the cups in one of two ways. Firstly, one method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, lighting it and placing the cup directly against the skin. Secondly, suction can be created by placing inverted cup over a small flame or with use of an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulated material to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. The procedure is much like the inverse of a massage as it uses gentle pressure to pull muscles upward. Once the skin is suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for a few minutes while the patient relaxes. The results yield effective pain relief and improve overall wellbeing and energy levels. This type of treatment is the perfect way to increase blood flow and circulation to help heal sore, tired muscles.
Cupping is generally combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but can also be used alone. A combination of the negative pressure from acupuncture and the suction from the cupping is effective in loosening muscles, encouraging blood flow, and sedating the nervous system (a great combination of treatment for high blood pressure). Similarly to acupuncture, cupping follows the five meridian lines on the back, and these lines are where the cups are usually placed. Therefore, acupuncture and cupping make for a wonderfully healing treatment.
Cupping can be used to treat many health related issues:
- Back and neck pain
- High blood pressure
- Stiff muscles
- Weight loss
- Stomach pain