Demystifying Cupping Therapy

Cupping is a treatment technique used by Eastern Medicine practitioners for centuries. The first recorded use of cupping therapy was noted in the Ebers Papyrus, which dates back to 1,550 B.C.

This is a treatment option that attracted attention largely due to the circular marks that were visible on Michael Phelps as he won Olympic gold in Rio. However, while this can be used to relieve muscle pain and stiffness, it is a highly effective technique to usefor a variety of different conditions.

The Basics of the Therapy

The central principle of cupping therapy is to enhance the circulation of blood to specific areas of the body. These areas are sources of pain, stiffness or decreased range of motion including the shoulders, spine, joints or on the large muscle groups throughout the body. It can also be used to reduce inflammation in a particular area or to provide deep tissue massage and muscle relaxation.
In addition, there is the ability for the process to help the body to rid itself of toxins. This allows for the lymphatic system to work more effectively by moving and opening up the tissue for more effective drainage as the body was designed to function.

The Practice

The practice involves the use of specially designed cups that may be made of glass, bamboo or other materials. The cupping therapy can include a wet cupping method or a dry method; this will depend on the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing as well as the desired results from the treatment.

The cups are designed to create a vacuum on the skin. This pulls the blood towards the surface, increasing circulation to the area. The cups are left on the skin for a specific amount of time or, in some cases, they may be moved across the skin to promote blood or lymphatic flow. The movement is known as dynamic cupping while leaving the cups in place is called stagnant cupping.

The marks from cupping therapy will last for several days for most people. However, the effects of the therapy will be noticed immediately with an increased range of motion, faster healing, reduction of pain and increased relaxation.

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