Contrary to popular belief, cupping therapy is not just a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but has been practiced the world over by different cultures in various ways. In recent times, this form of healing is attracting interest and curiosity mainly because of the many celebrities and famous athletes sporting the marks and bruises left behind by the therapy. They also talk about how they have used this method of healing for the problems they faced with very successful results.
One way to think about cupping is that it is the inverse of massage. Rather than applying pressure to muscles, the suction uses pressure to pull skin, tissue and muscles upward.
You usually will feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup. Often, this sensation is relaxing and soothing. Depending on your comfort and your practitioner’s assessment of the problem, cups may be moved around or left in place.
They may remain on your body briefly or for longer amounts of time. Each treatment is unique to you on that particular day.
Putting cups over a region helps the body reverse some of these effects. Initially it pulls blood into an area. The tissues get saturated with fresh blood while the vacuum pulls stagnant blood out of the area. You can see this in the hickey like appearance that is typically left behind. You may have a black and blue appearance that is rarely painful.
As new blood is forced into the tissues around the cups the body will begin to develop new blood vessels called neovascularization, new blood vessel formation. As the new vessels form they will have the capability to feed the tissues with nutrient and oxygen.
Something else happens early in this process as well. It is called sterile inflammation. Now many hear the word inflammation and think it is a bad thing. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Inflammation is the first line of healing. The body releases white blood cells, platelets, fibroblasts and other healing chemicals to promote healing. When the vacuum occurs it causes separation of the different layers of tissue which can cause micro trauma and tearing. The healing chemicals I mentioned above get released and stimulate healing. The inflammation is not chronic nor is it bad.
Next the fascia and tissue can be stretched several feet with cupping. The micro trauma is occurring, the new blood vessels are being formed and the blood and nutrients are starting to flow to the damaged tissue. But when you put 10 or so cups on the back or around the injured area it can begin to stretch the connective tissue and fascia for better movement. Many say that cupping works faster and last longer for them than massage. Many people start out very tight but over time they can see that the tissue is getting looser.
5 Reasons for Trying Cupping
1. Pain Relief – Several studies show that cupping therapy relieves various types of pain, from cancer to arthritis to lower back pain.
2. Relaxation – Everyone can use a little more relaxation! Cupping therapy eases stress by promoting blood and energy flow. It also releases toxins to relax the body and the mind.
3. Healing – Cupping promotes blood flow targeted to a particular area; better flow means faster healing.
4. Skin – Surface problems are often manifestations of what’s happening within. Increased blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients up through the skin to nourish and heal it.
Cupping may be effective in reducing the incidence of acne, eczema, and the appearance of cellulite.
5. Digestion – Whether stemming from an immune system response, poor dietary habits, and/or chronic stress, cupping can reduce stress in the abdominal area, relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation, and water retention.