Cupping involves placing glass, bamboo or plastic jars on the skin and creating a vacuum by suctioning out the air. The underlying tissue is raised, or sucked, partway into the cup.
The purpose of cupping is to enhance circulation, help relieve pain, remove “heat” and pull out the toxins that linger in your body’s tissues.
One way to think about cupping is that it is the inverse of massage. Rather than applying pressure to muscles, the suction uses pressure to pull skin, tissue and muscles upward.
You usually will feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup. Often, this sensation is relaxing and soothing. Depending on your comfort and your practitioner’s assessment of the problem, cups may be moved around or left in place.
They may remain on your body briefly or for longer amounts of time. Each treatment is unique to you on that particular day.
One very common area to be cupped is the back, although cups work well on other areas, too — particularly on fleshy sections of the body.
Cupping causes the skin to temporarily turn red, blue or purple, especially if there is an injury or energetic blockage under the area that was cupped. The skin discoloration can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, but is rarely painful.
Once the marks have cleared, the procedure can be repeated until the condition or ailment is resolved.
There are a number of methods of cupping — the two most common here in the U.S. are “fixed cupping” and “moving cupping.”
The cups are placed on a selected area of your body and then left in place without being moved.
As the name implies, in this method your practitioner applies massage oil or cream on your skin in selected places, puts the cups over the areas to be treated and then slides them around that region of the body — most commonly the back. The cups slide easily because the cream has lubricated your body.
You ought to consider exploring the benefits of cupping if you seek relief from stress, pain, allergies, fatigue, flu, colds, back pain, anxiety, muscle aches, red itchy skin conditions or fever.
5 Reasons for Trying Cupping
1. Helps Reduce Pain
One of the most common reasons people turn to alternative treatment methods is because they’re looking for a safe way to naturally reduce joint pain and muscle pain.
After reviewing dozens of randomized clinical trials testing cupping therapy in patients with pain of any origin, a report published in Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine found that cupping significantly reduced pain in people with low back issues compared to usual care treatments, showed positive effects in treating cancer pain compared with anticancer drugs and analgesics, and helped soothe pain associated with respiratory issues.
Cupping is thought to release tissues deep inside the body, relax tense muscles and ease stiffness associated with chronic back and neck pains, migraines, rheumatism, and fatigue.
Some athletes have been known to use cupping therapy to naturally improve performance and reduce stiffness, muscle cramps, joint pains and scar tissue caused by injuries.
Cupping targets soft tissue by applying local pressure to pain points and areas of swelling. As blood flow increases within vessels and capillaries, tissues receive much-needed nutrients and oxygen.
Cupping practitioners use pressure, heat, suctioning and needles above or below the site of injury, allowing for energy to travel along the “channels” (meridians) that pass through the injury.
For help lowering pain, cups are commonly placed over the following areas: over the fleshy part of the shoulder blades, over the groin/loins, by the neck (for soothing tension headaches, toothaches or migraines) or around the lower back.
2. Promotes Relaxation
It might seem counteractive, but cupping often helps alleviate physical complaints and allows people to enter a more relaxed state since it sedates the central nervous system.
This is similar to acupuncture, which you might assume hurts and is uncomfortable but actually seems to help lower most patients’ stress responses and therefore offers protection against anxiety and depression.
How can cupping be relaxing? Just the act of laying still and being “taken care of” during cupping therapy sessions might have a positive effect on someone’s psychological well-being, which could be one reason why it’s used to lower mental illnesses.
Once the cups are placed down and suctioned, they might need to remain still for up to 20 minutes, which forces stillness and silence on patients who might otherwise lead very hectic lives.
According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, another reason cupping is soothing is because the cups help lift pressure in tense muscles, which offers a relieving sensation just like receiving a deep tissue massage.
3. Boosts Skin Health
Cupping is used to reduce herpes, cellulite, acne and skin inflammation.
While studies haven’t shown it can necessarily help with weight loss, the fact that it tones and firms skin by improving blood flow and expanding capillaries makes it popular among celebrities and people in the spotlight who want to appear to have toned skin.
As part of a skin-clearing or cellulite treatment, oil is commonly first applied to the skin before the cups are suctioned and moved around, bringing heat to the area along with various skin-healing ingredients depending on the type of oil used.
Because cupping improves blood flow and might help lower inflammation, some studies have found it to be equally or even more effective at treating acne compared to antibiotics.
A meta-analysis of six studies showed that for improving acne, the cure rate of wet cupping was better than the cure rate following use of tanshinone, tetracycline and ketoconazole prescriptions.
4. Helps Treat Respiratory Issues and Colds
Commonly used to help nourish the lungs and clear away phlegm or congestion, cupping therapy can be useful for speeding up healing time from respiratory illnesses like the flu or common colds.
Cupping helps improve immune function by moving blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body, which is why it’s been associated with reductions in lung diseases (especially chronic coughs), allergies, infections and asthma.
Treating respiratory conditions like pulmonary tuberculosis is one of the oldest uses for cupping and was utilized long before prescriptions were available.
5. Improves Digestion
Acupuncture and cupping are both popular ways to improve digestion and reduce symptoms from disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This might primarily be because they can lower a patient’s stress response, which is highly tied to healthy digestive functioning.
Throughout history, cupping therapy has been found to be beneficial for people with frequent stomach pains, diarrhea, acute gastritis, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal diseases and water retention.
For digestive disturbances, cupping is commonly performed in the following areas: around the navel, over the bladder, around the kidneys or over the stomach.
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Source: Dr. Axe | Bare Natural Truth
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