Cupping therapy is a form of therapy where suction cups are placed around various parts of the body. Many people believe that the suction from these cups helps to encourage blood flow and healing.
The main principal behind cupping is that the suction created encourages blood and lymph flow, so the cups are placed and moved in a specific order and time. In dry cupping, there are two main ways that people are treated. The cups are placed and removed very quickly, without being moved around. The other technique is known by a few different names, such as sliding cupping or gliding cupping. This is where the cups are placed on the body and moved around without breaking contact with the skin. This aims to increase circulation and acts as a sort of massage.
The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.
The side effects of cupping are fairly mild. Bruising should be expected, but skin should return to looking normal within 10 days. Other potential side effects include mild discomfort.
While many in the west are skeptical of its benefits, a research paper published in 2012 entitled “An Updated Review of the Efficacy of Cupping Therapy” found that the use of cupping therapy significantly improved the success rates in treating a number of illnesses.
How Does Cupping Work?
Cupping increases the blood flow to sore areas in muscles, providing important nutrients to the area that promote healing.
It can also provide pain relief by exciting small nerves inside muscles so that they release pain-killing chemicals.