As more people seek natural healthcare alternatives, ancient therapies are making their way into the mainstream. Cupping, used frequently by acupuncturists to enhance their treatments, is one such therapy. You might notice circular bruises peaking out of people’s tank tops or on display in a backless dress, raising the question of what exactly is cupping therapy and what does it treat? Cupping is a method of treatment where de-oxygenated cups are applied to the skin, creating a vacuum, so that suction can be applied to strategic areas of the body. This suction helps to break up congestion or stagnation in the body, helping muscles to relax, fascia to release, phlegm to disperse, pain and swelling to diminish, and qi and blood to flow more freely through the channels.
Some common uses for cupping include:
Colds and Flu: Cupping is used to, break up mucus, ease coughs, address neck stiffness and chills, and disperse any lingering pathogens in the body allowing faster recovery and decreasing the risk of relapse.
Allergies, Asthma and Bronchitis: Cupping is used to address many disorders involving the lungs by unblocking the chest, decreasing accumulation of phlegm, and removing blockages that inhibit smooth breathing.
Musculoskeletal and Arthritic Pain: Cupping helps to warm stiff muscles, address pain from traumatic injury and promote healing, reduce swelling and inflammation, and relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Menstrual Irregularities and Discomfort: Irregular menstruation, painful periods, PMDD, and PMS can range from temporarily debilitating to downright disruptive. Cupping is used frequently to address common menstrual disorders such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, and symptoms of cramping, pain and headaches that frequently accompany a women’s monthly cycle.
GI Disorders: Healthy digestion is fundamental to the overall health of our bodies. Cupping can be used in conjunction with your acupuncture treatments to address a range of gastro-intestinal disorders including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomachaches, and indigestion.
Skin Disorders: More and more people are turning to Chinese medicine to address skin disorders that are complicated to treat. Cupping therapy, often in combination with herbal therapy, can be used in the treatment of challenging skin disorders including acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Short of some temporary bruising, the risks from cupping therapy are minimal and the rewards can be great. With such a versatile range of benefits, cupping is a valuable adjunct therapy to your acupuncture treatments.