Have you ever heard of cupping therapy and wondered what it is or how it can help you? Cupping is a safe, popular and traditional treatment that helps resolve chronic muscle tightness and reduce pain faster than any massage therapy alone. From pregnant pop stars to Olympic athletes, people are rediscovering the cupping benefits.
Maybe you have even seen people at your gym or swimming pool with those tell-tale red circles on their shoulders and backs. Nowadays, it is becoming more common for people to request cupping to relieve chronic muscle soreness. But do you know that cupping treatment can be used to address many other complaints?
Cupping is an ancient Chinese treatment that was also used initially by the ancient Egyptians. The therapy stimulates life force energy through meridians in your body. Cupping is also called Hijama.
What is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping is a therapy extensively used in traditional Chinese medicine or TCM to remove stagnation. TMC stimulates the flow of qi (chi). In technical terms, qi is the free flow of vital energy circulating through your body and the world around you.
If the qi is disturbed or disrupted, it can create stagnation, blockages, or imbalances in your body. There are also different types of cupping – dry cupping and wet cupping. It is also considered a type of complementary medicine.
Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but the concept is not new. Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine. It dates back to ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cultures. Did you know that the oldest medical textbook in the world – the Ebers Papyrus, clearly describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy way back in 1,550 B.C.?
The cups used in the treatment are made of bamboo or plastic, but mostly glass. These cups or globe-like balls range in size from three-quarters of an inch to four inches in diameter. They are placed on your skin after removing the air inside. Before the treatment starts, your therapist will apply oil to your skin to help cups glide smoothly during treatment.
How Does Cupping Work?
A cloth soaked in alcohol is lit with fire and inserted into the cup. This procedure helps remove the air out of the cup and creates a vacuum inside the cup. The cups are then immediately placed on top of meridian lines found on your back.
In TCM, a meridian or Jing lou is a channel through which qi and other fundamental substances flow. They are known by many different names. However, these meridians function as a network that is mapped throughout your entire body. What is important to emphasize is that meridians are non-physical.
These meridians are the treatment points in your body. Your therapist will know exactly where to place the cups. The vacuum causes the cup to create suction by sucking the skin into it. The resulting suction also pulls the blood deep down in your body to the surface. The improved blood and energy flow due to cupping results in healing.
Is it painful? No. Cupping does not hurt, but it may leave a temporary mark on your skin. In general, the therapy is not painful, but every once in a while, you can notice a redness. The redness that occurs is called a ‘sha’ reaction. If there is a lot of congestion or stagnation in the area, you might see some of that reaction. But it would not be quite as dark as the spots that few people have.
Surprising Cupping Benefits
1 Cupping increases circulation
The suction effect from the cups increases circulation to the area where the cups are placed. There is additional blood flow to that area. Resulting in relieving the muscle tension and promoting cell repair. Increasing circulation with cupping also helps to reduce your appearance of cellulite.
2 Cupping benefits – reduces anxiety
When your therapist glides the cups across your skin, your parasympathetic nervous system gets engaged. Your parasympathetic nervous system is an integral part of your body. It is responsible for slowing your heart rate and assisting in digestion and increasing intestinal and gland activity. This, in turn, will promote deep relaxation to move through your entire body. Therefore, making you feel cool and calm.
3 Cupping therapy can reduce scars and stretch marks
Your skin directly reflects what is happening inside your body. With cupping therapy, the blood circulation in your body increases. Besides increasing the supply of oxygen, increased essential nutrients also reach your skin. This helps reduce the recurrence of acne and other skin diseases like eczema etc.
Increased blood flow enables your body to remove toxins and restores lymphatic circulation. Cupping also helps to expand the blood vessels to facilitate blood flow. This in turn removes toxic substances from your skin surface. In addition, it also aids in removing edema or excess fluid, which helps reduce the appearance of scarring on your skin.
Studies have shown cupping has a positive effect on scars and stretch marks. It is also beneficial in the areas that are far from the area where the cups were applied.
4 Cupping encourages tissues to release toxins
Yes, your body has organs that remove toxins from your blood. But by following a modern lifestyle, you overload your body with toxins. Cupping therapy gives your body a boost, thus helping to release those toxins.
Focused blood flow helps your body by flushing all the built-up toxins through the lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is responsible for removing your body’s toxins and waste.
5 Cupping benefits – can improve spider veins and varicose veins
Varicose veins are the veins that look like bulging, bluish veins. These veins run just under your skin, usually on your legs and feet. This happens when the valves inside the vein are not working properly. In fact, this happens when the valves do not effectively push the blood from the muscle back to your heart. As a result, the blood congests, and the veins twist and bulge.
Cupping therapy is very helpful by bringing fresh blood flow and oxygen back to these problem areas. After the treatment, you will notice your varicose veins appear lighter. After your first session, the changes are visible, though it will take a series of cupping sessions for long-lasting results. You need to note that only dry, not wet, cupping is recommended for treating varicose veins.
6 Cupping benefits – can clear congestion and help treat asthma
Congestion is the condition when there is a buildup of fluid or phlegm in your lungs. The root cause could be a cold, bronchitis, or even asthma which can be treated with cupping. The suction from cups breaks up and expels congestion helping your respiratory system in many ways.
Cupping also brings oxygen-rich blood and lymph toward your lungs and your other respiratory muscles. Your therapist will usually place cups on your back. But may also place them on your chest. During the therapy, your therapist may leave the cups in place. Or may gently glide them upwards to facilitate the movement of the lymph fluid. Facial cupping is also a viable solution used to help unblock your sinuses.
7 Cupping can clear colon blockages and aid digestion
Cupping is very effective in engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. This is responsible for increasing the blood flow to the digestive tract. Gentle cupping over your abdomen also stimulates the insides organs of your digestive system.
It aids in peristalsis – the contraction process that pushes food through your digestive tract. As a result, your colon is cleared of blockages, encouraging blood and body fluid to move through your organs. This helps to relieve indigestion and a blockage-free digestive system.
Cupping A Way of Relaxation
Cupping therapy acts as a form of massage that provides ultimate relaxation. The energy and blood flow created due to cupping – is a good form of relaxation. Your therapist will strategically use cupping to increase the blood flow to specific areas that need healing. The increased energy and blood flow will lead to faster recovery.
For many, the cupping therapy is a really great experience. As you might have seen, there are countless health benefits for cupping. Also, it can be a very relieving and relaxing experience. People get it for many purposes, including to help with inflammation, pain relief, blood flow, relaxation, and well-being. As it is a type of deep-tissue massage, it is a very relaxing therapy.
Cupping stimulates tissue relaxation and initiates better cell-to-cell communication. Researchers and studies have confirmed that cell level changes during cupping help relax tissues and reduce inflammation.
Cupping Benefits – Wondering If It Could Work for You?
You can call REPC Dubai if you want to know more about cupping therapy. If you have any queries, you can ask your therapist during your next massage session.
The therapists at REPC Dubai have been trained and certified in safe and effective cupping techniques. You can choose to have a cupping-only session to overcome any of the issues or add cupping to your therapeutic massage.
Remember the benefits of cupping increase over time and there are no side effects. In case of any you can seek medical advice. You can also consider a monthly membership for added convenience and savings while you enjoy the health benefits of cupping therapy.