Cupping is an ancient form of alternative medicine. It is one of the processes in Complementary and alternative medicine. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) consists of cupping along with other Traditional Chinese Medicine like Acupuncture. Qi is the unrestricted flow of life energy or the vital life force that flows through the body and the environment and can become blocked or unbalanced in the body if it is disturbed. The vital energy that is said to flow across the body is known as Qi (chi). The theory states that Qi is generated from the interaction between Yin and Yang which is again a complex relational concept in practice of medicinal traits.
What do the Studies Say About Cupping?
Western research has demonstrated the effectiveness of the traditional Chinese medical procedure of cupping. The cupping therapy treatment promotes Qi flow and alleviates stagnation (qi pronounced as chi). It is proven as shown by many research studies that cupping enhances dermal blood flow and dilates topical capillaries.
What Does the Method of Cupping Massage Entail?
Steps in therapeutic cupping therapy include warming and placing cups made of glass, on the skin. When the cup is placed on the skin, a vacuum is generated by warming the air within, drawing the tissue up into the cup. The lowest layer of your skin, the subcutaneous tissue, is drawn into the cups and held there for a brief period of time.
Cupping helps release connective tissue or fascia and boosts blood flow to the surface. Furthermore encourages tissue relaxation and improved cell-to-cell communication, and cupping. An ultrasound camera used in research has captured changes at the cellular level showing that methods including cupping, acupuncture, and massage relax tissue and lower inflammatory marker levels. There is a decrease in inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers) and an increase in cytokines that aid in recovery and relaxation.
How Is Cupping Done?
The method is done with the intention to speed up the healing process by increasing blood flow and releasing fascia or connective tissue. Compare it to when scarred tissue is broken. People opt for a deep tissue massage to decrease the pain and faster recovery. All the body parts prone to fatigue like the back, neck, and shoulders, as well as other sore spots, are frequently treated with the cups.
Cups are made of glass, plastic, bamboo, or ceramic and are placed on the skin. It produces suction. Any muscle region directly connected to the cups, such as the back, shoulders, stomach, or legs, is treatable.
Myofascial decompression is the result created by cups when the skin being sucked into the cups creates a negative pressure environment due to the suction. Although cupping utilises negative pressure to raise muscle fibres and move circulation to the region, cupping massage treatment uses direct touch to alleviate tension.
Depending on the extent of internal stagnation and the degree of suction produced by the vacuum, cupping may temporarily result in bruising and discomfort. This would be considered a positive outcome in TCM, indicating that the therapy was successful in removing stagnation and poisons. By elevating one edge of the cup, the seal and hoover are broken, allowing air inside.
What Are the Different Types of Cupping?
There are several types of cupping methods that are applied according to the professional's diagnosis or the specific requirement of the skin it is being performed on. Cups are mainly made from glass. Since ancient times, cups were constructed of bamboo, clay, metal, or animal horns till glass came into the picture.
The traditional cupping method, also known as fire or dry cupping, is referred to as ba guan zi. This entails putting the cup over an acupuncture point along an energy meridian or a painful point. Depending on the severity of the person's condition, the cups remain in place for anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes. Typically, a single course of therapy is done in 4-6 sessions which are spaced out by 3–10 day periods.
Wet cupping therapy combines cupping with a kind of acupuncture known as bleeding. Before applying the cup, the skin is pricked with a lancet to induce a tiny quantity of blood flow from the region. They then extract a little quantity of blood with a second suction. This procedure is supposed to remove interior toxins. This method is implemented by TCM practitioners in China for common inflammatory disorders like diabetes, asthma, liver disease, etc.
It has a hand-held suction pump. It is used to remove air from the cups during air cupping which is a heat-free alternative to fire cupping. According to certain clinical studies from China, this advancement in cupping technique makes patients feel more at ease.
Before placing the cups, massage oil is given to the skin to make it easier for the cups to glide over the skin's surface. The technique and the way it is handled resembles deep tissue massage. The sliding cups technique is often used to treat pain and muscular spasms in the big back muscle groups.
Cupping Therapy Benefits
Traditional cupping therapy is used to treat lung conditions like cough, congested airways, and asthma. The benefits of back cupping are quite evident since it is the one opted for the most. Historically, it has also been used for intestinal issues, discomfort, and paralysis.
While studying cupping, they have discovered cupping therapy benefits for ailments including anxiety, back pain, depression, fertility, high blood pressure, and eczema, insomnia, varicose veins, dermatitis, acne.
The findings of actual benefit are significant. This is hinted to have an especially low risk of side effects.
According to TCM theory, sickness, and pain are caused by qi and blood stagnation. Cupping stimulates the qi and blood circulation in the region being treated, reducing inflammation, discomfort, and stress. It eliminates poisons by bringing impurities to the surface. These are the cupping therapy health benefits that have been proven time and again.
What Should I Expect After Cupping?
The round, red marks from the cupping therapy usually last for two to three weeks. This is created due to the suction force as it breaks open capillaries (tiny blood vessels) under the skin which causes the marks. People may think that these might hurt since it does high-key looks like bruises but DO NOT FRET since they are not as vicious as they appear and certainly do not cause any type of injury to muscle fibres.
Cupping might result in some amount of swelling or soreness but pain isn't a thing in the process if done by a licensed practitioner. There is no severe discomfort involved in the process of cupping except. The most you could feel is a bit of skin tightness.
What Negative Consequences Could Cupping Have?
Rarely. You can experience nausea or dizziness just after your session. The most common minor side effects include bruising and discomfort in the treated regions.
Does Anyone Need to Avoid Getting a Cup?
Cupping therapy treatment is generally considered a safe form of treatment but there are a few limitations and exceptions to whom cupping is suitable. That is, cupping is not recommended in a few circumstances and scenarios. If you are taking large doses of blood thinners, are frail, thin, or have delicate skin.
If you have an active form of cancer, skin damage, or a blood condition until your situation improves, you should avoid it. It is not recommended for pregnant women to use cupping for the abdomen or lower back. In any case, before a session, always go through your medication schedule and medical background with your practitioner.