According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cupping is a method of creating a vacuum on the surface of the patient’s skin using specialized cups that draw the superficial layers of muscles and skin into the cup. This vacuum is used to help dispel stagnant blood and lymph, thereby improving energy flow (qi). This helps balance and realign the flow of energy. Cupping helps to reduce inflammation and breakdown obstructions creating an avenue for toxins to be expelled from the body. Cupping can help eliminate toxins which can accumulate in our bodies. Sources of toxins include Stress; pollution, foods and chemicals. These toxins can slow down the blood flow which in turn also slows down oxygen, nutrients, antibodies and vitamins from being delivered throughout the body.
There is also another form of cupping that is referred to as “Wet” or “Gliding” cupping. This involves an oil or lotion to be applied to the body followed by mild suctioning of a cup. The cup is used in a gliding motion across the body which resembles massage. The amount of suction in the cup is much less then when the cups are static, allowing for a consistent and comfortable pressure on the body. This can be quite relaxing and enjoyable and another method of helping to reduce pain, soreness and muscular restrictions without a more aggressive touch based therapy.
There will be a variance for everyone. Some patients have an immediate relief with their 1st cupping treatment and other individuals will need a course of treatments to have a better response. Generally, it is suggested to have a course of 4-6 cupping therapy treatments to gain the greatest benefit.
The thought of a cup being suctioned onto the skin may seem painful, but it is quite the opposite. The mild vacuuming of the skin usually provides very little pain and can be quite relieving. People that may not like massage or touch type therapies find cupping to be an option that provides relief from muscular restrictions without hands on work. Cupping can affect muscles and layers of tissues up to 4 inches in depth. Specialized cups are simply placed on areas of the body and suctioned in place and left on the patient for 15-30 minutes before being removed. Many celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham and sports athletes such as Michael Phelps, Roberto Osuana and many more incorporate cupping into their health care regime.