There are many treatments within the scope of Traditional Chinese medicine. Cupping therapy has recently been embraced by the media because some celebrities have endorsed its benefits. So what is cupping and how does it work?
Cupping therapy is defined as a procedure that uses small cups and a suction method to lightly draw the skin into the cup. There are many different methods for creating the suction needed. The more traditional method was to use fire and alcohol with glass cups to create the suction. The flames never touched the skin it was only used to eliminate the oxygen in the cups. The more modern approach is to use plastic cups with a hand pump to pull the air out of the cups once they are placed on the skin. This is the method we use at our clinic.
Cupping is usually used in conjunction with acupuncture, although it is a fine therapy on its own. Cupping is one of the best deep tissue methods available. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. This can relieve tension and stress and help to relax the muscles. The cups are left in place for 10-15 minutes A similar procedure is the practice of Tui Na, a traditional Chinese medicine massage technique that targets acupuncture points as well as painful body parts, and is well known to provide relief with pressure.
Similar to acupuncture, cupping follows the 5 meridian lines on the back. Using acupuncture points, cupping can help relax the qi and open the meridian channels, providing a smooth flow of energy and removing stagnation from the blood. Cupping is most commonly used to relieve symptoms of the flu, colds, allergies, and coughs but can also be used for pain, poor circulation, and anxiety.
If you would like to try cupping at your next acupuncture appointment just ask!