Cupping treatment has caught people’s eyes in recent years. Since Olympic 2016, Olympic Champion- Michael Phelps, and many other athletes have embraced this practice. American gymnast- Alexander Adour, even claimed it is the secret that he uses to keep him healthy. “It’s been better than any money I’ve spent on anything else.” Mr. Adour added. (News 01)
What is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping is a form of alternative medicine. In which, cups to create suction and mobilise blood flow. It has been used to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments. Chinese style fire cupping and wet cupping has become one of the most sought after therapies due to its excellent results. The cups can be made of a variety of materials, including:
- Glass cups
- Bamboo cups
- Earthenware cups
The ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern were using such therapy. Traditional Chinese medicine has embraced such therapeutic method into Chinese medicine system. They believe the cupping treatment will promote free flowing of Qi (energy). Over thousands of years, they developed further to combine cupping with topical herbal medicine and acupuncture points. These combined modalities nowadays can treat wide range of illness, such as pain, skin diseases and internal disorders.
Types of cupping treatment
There are various types of suction cups for different conditions, including:
- Dry Cupping - suction cups apply to skin only;
- Wet Cupping, also known as “Hijama” -Combination of suction and controlled medicinal bleeding;
- Massage Cupping - on oil lubricated skin, cups sucked on and scraping along the skin
Flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper is placed in a cup and set on fire. Then therapist puts the cup on top of the flame. As the fire goes out, the cup is placed upside down on the patient's skin.
As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
What is Wet Cupping?
During wet cupping, a mild suction is created using a cup on the skin for about five minutes. Then the cup is removed and a small scalpel to make superficial skin incisions. A second suction then performed to draw out a small quantity of blood.
After the procedure, an antibiotic ointment will cover the site to prevent infection. The skin's appearance generally returns to normal within 7-10 days. Wet cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing.
What are the benefits of cupping
Chinese fire cupping can treat a variety of conditions by promoting energy flow freely:
- Fertility and gynaecological disorders
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne
- Common cold
- Anxiety and depression
- Weight loss
- Varicose veins
Chronic neck & shoulder pain may benefit from cupping therapy
A randomised controlled trial conducted in 2016 concluded that cupping therapy is helpful for chronic neck and shoulder pain. In this study, one treatment of cupping therapy is shown to increase skin surface temperature and reduce blood pressure. In conjunction with the physiological effects, the subjective experience of chronic neck and shoulder pain is reduced. Cupping therapy mimics an analgesic effect, which has no known negative side effects and may be considered safe. (5)
Is there any side effect?
It is a very safe treatment. However, most people will have cupping marks for few days. The reason that people have those marks is because of the process of natural healing. Cupping therapy may help to remove the stagnation for blood circulation. Bring the deoxygenated blood to the skin surface by the suction. Some people might even find the colour of the marks, become lighter after a few cupping sessions. It could be an indicator that the pathogens are systematically removed from the body.
What should I expect from your clinic?
We use modern version of cupping with a rubber pump to create the suction. Sometimes we may use medical-grade silicone cups. These are pliable enough to be moved from place to place on the skin and produce a massage-like effect. Cupping therapy is an ancient, safe, drug-free, natural procedure for a wide range of health conditions. If you wish to find out more why so many sports professionals use it, such as Michael Phelps. We are here to help.
Cupping therapy studies:
- NCBI, 2017, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28946531)
- PLOS, 2012, (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0031793)
- NCBI, 2017, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29122256)
- NCBI, 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4814666/
- Science Direct, 2014, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411014000509
- Science Direct, 2014, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095754814000040
- News 01 https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/rio-2016/2016/08/06/usa-mens-gymnastics-cupping-game-ready-jake-dalton-sam-mikaluk/88336190/
- Photo credit 01 http://olivemassage.com/portfolio/chinese-cupping/
- Photo credit 02 http://www.thechirofusion.com/neck-shoulders-pain/