Perhaps you were first introduced to cupping therapy when Micheal Phelps dove into the pool during the Olympics and the media went crazy talking about the weird therapy he was getting that made purple circles on his back and shoulders. You heard it was often used by physical therapists to help athletes recover from strenuous workouts, and you also heard it referred to with skepticism! Be assured it is a relevant today as it was long ago.
Cupping has been used therapeutically since at least 300 A.D. by Taoist physicians in China, with cups of horn or bamboo. However, all over the world this therapy has been used in cultures on most continents, from the middle east to South America. Cupping is a suction technique designed to pull toxin build up, muscle spasm, and areas of stagnant circulation, from the body’s deep layers to the surface of the skin. The body’s cells use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide: when this is blocked, cell waste accumulates and pain and restriction is the outcome. In only 10 minutes of cupping, this waste is pulled out of the deep muscle layer to the skin surface for removal by the superficial capillary system, and fresh new blood restores proper flow. The patient experiences a relief from pain and a vitalization of the body functions from the lungs to the digestion and more.
The color that results from cupping is informative as to the underlying problem. If your cups yield very dark purple circles, your stagnation of circulation was severe. If the circles are pale or light in color, the problem was not severe. Depending on the severity, discoloration take from 2 days to a few weeks to fade away completely. This is not a typical bruise, it is superficial. While you are being cupped you may experience some minor discomfort when the cups first go on. Very sensitive individuals may find it too strong, so please tell your acupuncturist if you need them adjusted! However many people enjoy it as they would a deep massage.
There are different types of cupping therapy. Fire cupping uses a flame to heat the inside of glass cups. Commonly silicone or plastic cups are used without heat. Moving cups glide along the skin in a massaging motion. Sometimes, in bleeding cups, the skin is pricked before the cups is placed to draw out a few drops of blood. In my practice I use fire or plastic suction cups.
Cupping’s effects are immediate! Your healing process may be shortened dramatically by utilizing this technique. Use cupping for bronchitis or asthma, chronic gastritis and diarrhea, pain syndromes, gynecological problems, and more!
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