What Is Chinese Cupping and How Will It Help Me?

What Is Chinese Cupping and How Will It Help Me?

cupping, massage, Chinese cupping, Thousands of years ago, physicians in Ancient China searched for ways to help alleviate pain and illness, and one of the techniques developed was cupping. Cupping involves using a hollow object in which a partial vacuum has been created to draw the flesh up into the object to provide a number of health benefits.

Originally, the hollowed out horns of animals were used for the ‘cups’, but glass globes, plastic cylinders, earthenware cups, or sections of bamboo are now used. Glass or plastic is preferred since these cups will not deteriorate as will earthenware or bamboo cups, and also allows the cupping therapist to view the subject’s skin. Cups are left on between five and fifteen minutes.

How Chinese Cupping Is Performed

Chinese cupping might well be considered the first cousin to acupuncture as the therapist will often make use of the same energy paths through the body to provide relief from various conditions. There are several methods employed to produce the partial vacuum in the cup, and while they some involve heating the cup or the air inside the cup, the person undergoing cupping therapy will not be exposed to open flame in any way.

  • Some cupping therapists will soak a cotton ball in alcohol and, using tweezers or tongs to hold the ball, will light it inside a glass globe to heat the interior air. The globe will be applied to the skin, and as the air cools, the skin will be pulled up into the globe.
  • The air inside the globe can also be removed by holding the globe over a candle flame. This method works in the same way as the cotton ball method.
  • The use of plastic cups attached to a hand or electric pump can also be used to create a vacuum within the cup.

Most people will rely upon dry cupping to provide the treatment they desire, but some therapists will also use wet cupping. During wet cupping, the cup is applied initially in the usual manner, but removed after a few minutes – small cuts are then made in the raised portion of the skin and the cup reapplied. Because wet cupping involves bleeding, it is thought that it helps to remove toxins from the body.

The Benefits of Chinese Cupping

Chinese cupping is used for relieving a number of physical and mental complaints and is valuable when used in combination with massage therapy. Cupping is also often used in conjunction with acupuncture, and relies on the same meridian lines that carry energy (qi) through the body to provide health benefits.

  • One of the main benefits of cupping is that it is thought to help detoxify the body. Cupping brings accumulated toxins to the surface where they can more easily be removed by the body.
  • Cupping increases circulation by drawing blood to the area being cupped. As the blood moves more freely through the body, helps to remove pollutants and toxins. Increased circulation also strengthens the heart and lowers blood pressure.
  • Massage cupping requires that the therapist apply oil to the area to be treated – generally on the back or legs. The use of oil allows the cups to be moved easily over the back to bring relief and healing to a larger area.
  • Traditionally, Chinese cupping has been used to treat respiratory problems including asthma and viral infections such as colds and flu. Cupping is believed to help open the lungs and bronchial passages.
  • Strained muscles in the back or legs will respond beautifully to massage cupping. By drawing more blood to the areas that are sore, more healing power is provided to return torn and bruised muscles to normal.
  • The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system and will respond best to invading pathogens or inorganic toxins if it is open and functioning at its peak. Cupping helps to keep the lymphatic drainage system open so that it can wash harmful elements out of the body before they can do harm.

Cupping can provide a number of health benefits, and is also used for reducing stress. Even if you have no obvious physical problems to deal with, cupping can help to remove some of the anxiety and worry that build up in all of us and contribute to stress.

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