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What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is a traditional Chinese medicine technique. Its origins cause some debate as it is mentioned as medical therapy in an ancient Chinese work approximately 3000 years ago, but is also found to have been talked about in ancient Egyptian and Greek texts. This holistic, complementary, and alternative medical technique is meant to help ease a variety of issues amongst individuals.

How Does Cupping Work?

This therapy method uses small cups or jars as suction devices. When first written about, the cups were made from bamboo and animal horns. Today, bamboo is still widely used, as is glass, plastic, and silicone. The suction technique increases circulation in the areas where suction occurs. It is thought to relieve muscle tension, form new connective tissues, create new blood vessels in the tissue, and promote cell repair.

The Chinese believe that the Qi, or life energy, determines one’s life span and health. By balancing the negative and positive (Yin and Yang), a person can achieve equilibrium and strengthen the body.

Types of Chinese Cupping

While practitioners may utilize dry or wet Houston cupping therapy to complement existing care, dry cupping is the most popular. Traditionally, whether the therapist uses the dry or wet technique, they light a flammable substance, such as paper, herbs, or alcohol and put it in the cup. As the flame goes out, the cup is turned upside down and placed on your skin. A vacuum is created as the air inside the cup cools, causing your skin to redden and rise as the blood vessels expand. Today, practitioners may use silicone cups or a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum.

A milder form of suction is created by wet cupping. Once the cup is removed, the therapist makes light tiny cuts on the skin using a small scalpel then does a second suction, meant to draw out a small amount of blood. In both dry and wet techniques, the suction typically leaves a round bruise on the skin where the blood vessels burst during the procedure.

What is Cupping Therapy Treatment For?

This treatment is typically used to treat pain associated with muscle and connective tissues, such as swelling and muscle knots. As is true for several complementary treatments, cupping may minimize toxins in the system by drawing them into the skin where they are more easily eliminated. Additional cupping therapy benefits may include:

  • Increasing lymphatic output by improving immunity
  • Enhancing athletic performance
  • Calming the nervous system
  • Weight loss
  • Providing relaxation
  • Stretching connective tissues and muscles
  • Loosening adhesions and restrictions in the tissue
  • Improving overall wellbeing

The versatility of cupping therapy makes it a viable treatment for a wide range of people with different lifestyles and needs. While some individuals may use it for relaxation from everyday stress or relieve congestion, others may use it to cleanse and purify their skin, improve metabolism, or strengthen digestion.

Where are Cups Applied?

Often used by active individuals who are very sore or experiencing pain, there are several areas of the body where cups can be effectively applied:

  • Upper and lower back
  • Between the shoulder blades
  • Neck
  • Left or right carotid
  • Middle and crown of the head
  • Chin
  • Thighs
  • Knee and ankle joints
  • Calves, hamstrings, and quads
  • Abdomen, chest, and buttocks

Contact Us Today

Cupping therapy is often combined with other techniques such as acupuncture. Whether you wish to use it as a method of relief for various conditions, an addition to your deep tissue massage, or as part of a wellness routine, contact us today to learn more about this alternative method of therapy!

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