Cupping is a type of bodywork therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction, like an inverse of massage.The suction helps facilitate the flow of “qi” in the body. Qi is a Chinese word meaning life force, or vital energy.
Cupping helps balance yin and yang within the body. Restoring balance between these two help with the body’s resistance to pathogens as well as its ability to increase blood flow and reduce pain.
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.
Cupping was originally performed using animal horns. Later, this evolved to bamboo and eventually ceramic, “cups”. The suction was created through the use of fire, to generate a vacuum, and then applied to the skin. As they cooled, the cups drew the skin inside.
Modern cupping is often performed using silicone cups and a vacuum pump
When the cup is placed on your skin, the air inside the cup cools and creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upward into the cup. Your skin may turn red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure.
The cup is set in place for between 5 and 10 minutes.
Cupping is sometimes performed along with acupuncture treatments.
Cupping has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It may be particularly effective at easing conditions that create muscle aches and pain, but cupping can also be effective at treating lung issues, digestive issues, skin issues, and other conditions commonly treated with acupressure.
There aren’t many side effects associated with cupping. The side effects you may experience will typically occur during your treatment or immediately after. Cupping usually leaves circles on your skin for a few days.
Cupping is a long-practiced treatment that may help ease the symptoms of both temporary and chronic health conditions.
As with many alternative therapies, keep in mind that there haven’t been extensive studies performed without bias to fully assess its true effectiveness.