Cupping Therapy Basics

The ancient art of cupping therapy uses the creation of a vacuum, or suction, to facilitate healing in the body. The suction is believed to draw blood to the tissues and muscles needing treatment, facilitating health and restoring energy.

This therapeutic technique can be traced back to ancient Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese cultures and is still popular today in Eastern medicine. Not surprisingly, cupping is looked upon with skepticism by conventional Western medicine but cupping practitioners are available and can be found via the Internet.

The Cupping Procedure

There are two types of stationary cupping therapy, dry cupping and wet cupping. In both forms, something flammable such as an alcohol drenched cotton ball or paper, is put into the cup (glass, silicone, plastic, or bamboo) and lit. When the fire goes out, the mouth of the cup is placed on the skin. As the cup cools, the vacuum forms. Some practitioners forgo the use of fire and use a pump to create the vacuum.

During dry cupping, the cups are left in place for five to fifteen minutes. Wet cupping is a bit more dramatic. The cup(s) is left on the skin for about three minutes and then a small incision is made. Another cupping, placed over the incision, draws toxins out of the body.

The British Cupping Society recommends cupping for a variety of illnesses, including:

  • anxiety and depression
  • migraines
  • high blood pressure
  • acne, eczema
  • arthritis, fibromyalgia
  • chest congestion owned to allergies

Massage Therapy Cupping

Massage therapists use cupping to induce relaxation and reduce physical and emotional stress. Instead of leaving the cups stationary, massage therapists move the cups across the skin. To facilitate this movement, oil is applied to the mouth of the cup.

As the cups travel over the body, tension and knots in the muscles relax and loosen. Cups may be left stationary over stubborn areas to soften them. Massage cupping is not only soothing, but is believed to draw inflammation and toxins out of the body’s tissues.

source: Cupping Therapy

source: An Introduction to Cupping for Massage Therapists

Further Reading


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