What is cupping?

A method of treatment that is unusual but quite popular, cupping is a natural way to combat pain. Cupping comes under alternative therapy, under the umbrella of physiotherapy techniques. It may be popular as a trend these days, but cupping has been around for centuries.

The origins of cupping therapy originate from ancient China. The Chinese had a belief in something called the Qi. The Qi is what they referred to as the life-force of the body. The Qi is believed to be anchored at certain points in the body. This flow of the life-force is what maintains the energy, health, and balance of the body. Cupping is used as a way to enhance the Qi and make the body function better.

How is cupping done?

Cupping is carried out by placing cups on the patient’s back made of some particular materials. Earlier these cups were originally made from either a certain kind of ceramic or with bamboo. Nowadays, cupping practitioners commonly use glass cups. These cups are used to assist in creating a suction in the skin. This phenomenon is often carried out with the use of heat.

Originally, the cups were heated on the fire and then placed on the skin. As the temperature of the cups dropped, the heat depleted the air in the cup. This causes a suction, making the skin rise and expand in the vacuum created.

What is cupping used to treat?

Cupping works on the basis that sometimes the body undergoes health problems due to poor blood or energy flow. Cupping is used to sensitize the skin using heat. It is like a deep-skin massage. The therapy can assist with chronic back pain and migraines. It is most commonly used to treat pain caused by musculoskeletal problems. Most people are of the opinion that musculoskeletal pain is a tangible manifestation of chronic stress.

Stress, physical, mental or emotional, has a large effect on the daily workings of the body. Cupping is like an alternative to a massage and can be used to fight stress. This causes relaxation in the body, easing frayed nerves.

Types of cupping

There are two main types of cupping. The cupping practitioner and your medical and physical conditions are what would dictate your choice of method. These are:

  • Dry cupping: This is the most common kind of cupping. It is carried out in the traditional way that cupping is usually done, by only using suction in the skin.
  • Wet cupping: In wet cupping, the practitioner uses the cups for the suction of the skin. Additionally, the skin is cut and some blood is allowed to flow out. This is medical bleeding, allowing for an enhancement of the blood flow.

Is it safe?

Cupping has been practiced for centuries. It is a very popular kind of alternative therapy. The therapy is often carried out by certified acupuncturists and practitioners. Always make sure that the practitioner you choose is certified and the facility is clean. Some personal physical conditions like thin skin might also dictate your eligibility for the method. However, the bruising and the cupping marks are fairly common and are non-hazardous. It is a good method to try in order to get some physical relief.