Heal like an Olympian

Acupuncturist working on patient

Always there is a search for an alternate medical practices to cure ourselves from pains. In the recent weeks one of the famed alternate therapy was cupping therapy, since we saw our well known swimmer Michael Phelps with those purple circular marks set off a frenzy of searches for the what, why, and how’s of cupping, the ancient Chinese therapy responsible for the welts.

What is Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being.

Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.

How Cupping Therapy works

Cupping involves the use of cups applied to a patient’s back in a series of positions in order to produce suction. The vacuum effect targets areas of skin and deep tissue within the back, which is beneficial for dulling pain, breaking up deep scar tissue, and relaxing tender muscles or connective tissue.

In this way, cupping is almost like the opposite of getting a massage since instead of applying pressure to swollen areas, it draws pressure out. For this reason cupping is often done in patients who experience chronic lower back pain, muscle knots, tightness due to anxiety, swelling or stiffness.

What are the Types of Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is differentiated using the type or the material of the cup used for therapy. The cupping therapy types are

Dry – As the air inside the cup heats, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes.

Wet – Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for about 3 minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does the second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.

The cupping therapy also differs in the material of the cup used,

  • Glass
  • Bamboo
  • Earthenware
  • Silicon

Except the silicon cup others are not movable, silicon cup is moved on the various parts of the back skin. It is used as a massage technique to get a relief from pains.

Benefits of Cupping Therapy

Ancient Chinese royals used cupping therapy for various disorders and pains. The major uses are as follows,

Pain Reliever

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.
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.

Endorse 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.

Improves Immunity

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.


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