Cupping Therapy is not the latest technique; modern days wide range of athletes uses it, but this ancient therapy was started in the era of Muslim Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was also a part of Egyptian, Chinese and Greek medical care as a detoxification of body or deep tissue procedures to cure the muscle aches and rejuvenate the arteries and veins of particular tissues.
What is it Cupping Therapy
Cup therapy is a medical procedure that is carried out by putting jars of either glass or plastic on a peculiar tissue that requires detoxification or enhanced blood supply by enabling a vacuum through suction using suction pumps. The skin or tissues in the cup are sucked and raised to remove heat and toxins out of it by treating the pain and increasing blood flow to that area. It is thus helpful in enhancing the activity of tissues and muscles. Bamboos cups are also available but recently glass or silicone cups are more commonly used.
The cupping treatment leaves marks on the body because suction leaves the skin red, blue or purple that is short lived for up to few weeks. When the mark is resolved the second session of treatment can be started to ensure the complete cupping process.
Fleshy areas of the body are more susceptible to this therapy such as back, legs, arms and shoulders. This procedure is opposite to massage therapy as massage therapy involves the pressurization of muscles while cup therapy requires pulling out of muscles in the cup to drain toxic blood in wet technique (blood cupping) while emitting out heat in dry cupping.
How to Use Cupping Treatment
Cupping treatment is effective for a backache, muscle aches, fatigue, stress, anxiety, fever, red and itchy skin conditions, poor circulation, allergies, flu, and cold. It is advised not to apply the cup to the allergic, inflamed and infected area. It is considered that it ensures the increased blood supply, lymph, and Qi throughout the body and especially to the required area.
Different Types of Therapy
Cupping treatment can be performed by a different way and mostly it depends on the specialist performing it and the reason for using it. There are few ways of cupping adopted by various experts:
Fixed Cupping Process:
The glass or plastic cup is fixed on selected area without being dragged until the process is completed.
Movable Cupping Process:
This procedure requires the application of lubricant oil or cream on selected area. Cups are put on the desired area and then moved around that region of the body to complete the procedure.
Wet Cupping or Blood Cupping Process:
It is also known as Chinese Cupping therapy. Blood cupping involves the removal of stagnant blood from particular tissues by making small incisions. Glass or Silicon cups are placed on selected skin and then removed after a short while. Small cuts are made at the place of the cup and then cups are put again to draw blood into a cup. That is the cupping way for removing toxins. In Arabic wet cupping is also termed as Hijama that means drawing out.
Dry Cupping Process:
It does not involve incisions or cuts. Therefore, blood is not drawn out of it. It just removes heat from particular tissues and enhances blood flow to it.
Fire Cupping Therapy:
A cotton ball is wet with isopropyl alcohol, burned and immediately transferred to an empty cup. The burning ball is then drawn out of cup and cup is applied to the skin. The burning or fire utilizes the oxygen out of cup and vacuum is created. Oil or cream can also be used at the place of cupping to achieve a firmer seal.
It is also carried out by coating the inner lining of the cup with alcohol and lighting it. Fire will remove the air and creates a vacuum.
Effectiveness of Therapy:
Cup Therapy is being used for thousands of years so it must be effective. Recently the previous research has been reviewed about its efficiency, and it is found that it is somehow useful for body aches, chronic cough, shingles and back ailments. Recent researchers are focusing on cautions that should be taken while doing cupping treatment.
Incisions or cut in blood cupping may lead to swelling of the area, infection, bruising and finally scarring. Therefore in California, it is considered illegal. Similarly, dry cupping can cause damage to arteries and veins of skin, keloids, and panniculitis.
Cupping treatment is effective for a backache, muscle aches, fatigue, stress, anxiety, fever, red and itchy skin conditions, poor circulation, allergies, flu, and cold.
Benefits of Cupping Therapy:
There is very few scientific data that supports this therapy. It is believed that suction of particular tissues or muscle induces a much better immune response that is helpful in relieving pain. Now a day it is more common in athletes, it is also observed at Rio Olympics that few athletes have big red circles on their skin, these circles results from cup therapy. Cupping is not an accurate medical treatment, but it has placebo effects that satisfy the players and improves their confidence level. Before that athletes have been seen wearing bright adhesive that are believed to be helpful in relieving discomfort and enhancing lymphatic drainage.
Although these techniques has very few benefits, it is becoming very common among celebrities. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow was the first cupping that appears in public on red carpet having a cupping round mark on her back. Jennifer Aniston, Chris Martin, Lady Gaga, Jessica Simpson and Victoria Beckham were the stars who had got the cupping treatment.
Athletes consider Cupping as a secret weapon for improving health and performance naturally. A Chinese swimmer Wang Qun, a tennis star Andy Murray, and Mets player Daisuke Matsuzaka had undergone cupping treatment, and they found it sufficient for playing as long as possible.
It is highly discouraged in patients having bleeding disorders, skin ulcers, and edema because it’s hard to manage blood loss, infections and swelling in such patients. It should be used with caution in pregnancy avoiding the abdomen and lower back area.
Cupping therapy is highly in need of standardization. It will be more efficient when it is performed under standardized procedures by qualified practitioners.