The history of cupping therapy
Cupping therapy is a medical practice first implemented by the Ancient Egyptians. It was first practised using a hollowed out animal horn and was used to treat boils, skin lesions and even snakebites. The method was known for removing bad toxins from the body. It has been used in Asia for thousands of years and in Europe for hundreds of years.
The method of cupping therapy has developed over the years, and today the practice utilises glass or plastic cups rather than animal horns. Therapy cups are also made from silicone or earthenware materials which have been designed to withstand exposure to high temperatures.
How does cupping therapy work?
Cupping therapy works by placing plastic or glass cups on a patient's skin. This creates a vacuum, drawing blood to the skin's surface in the parts of the body that require healing. In traditional Chinese medicine, we apply the cupping method to the 12 different meridians of the body which are used to transfer energy. There are three different traditional methods of cupping used, which includes massage, dry and wet cupping therapy.
Massage cupping therapy
Massage cupping involves the movement of cups across the skin, which is done in a smooth, gliding motion with the use of massage lotion prior. This form of cupping can be used for a variety of reasons, including relaxation, tension release, cellulite reduction and weight loss. Massage cupping therapy utilises the application of pressure to the muscles to assist with pain management by pulling the tissue, muscles and skin in an upward motion to help improve circulation.
Dry cupping therapy
Dry cupping therapy utilises a combination of heat and suction. The cup is set on fire using alcohol and as it goes out, the acupuncturist places the therapy cup on the patient's skin. In modern times, a pump is used to pull the air out of the cup creating a vacuum and suction. The skin rises into the cup and will start to become red. The cup is typically left in the meridian spot for around twenty minutes.
Wet cupping therapy
Wet cupping utilises the heat and suction method, however, during a session, the acupuncturist will use a sterilised lancet to pierce the patient's skin. The acupuncturist will then perform the therapy to draw out old blood from the skin. This technique is very good for skin conditions. Both the dry and wet cupping methods are used to assist any problems with the respiratory system like bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as illnesses like chest infections or the common cold.
The belief behind this therapy is that the vacuum and suction effect applied to the meridian points on a person's body can remove blockages in the energy pathways that flow around our insides. There a lot of potential health benefits to cupping therapy, which includes the promotion of better blood flow, increased circulation to the skin, tissue and muscles, loosened knots in the muscles, the supply of oxygen to cells and the release and drain of toxins or excess fluids in the body.