America seems to be buzzing louder than my bee hives about this ancient therapy. Until recently, Cupping was relatively unknown by most Western people outside of Asian medicine clients, martial arts practitioners or students of natural therapies. Actually, it has been used as far back as 3000 B.C. and even in ancient Egypt!
Thanks to the present day Olympics and tabloid type journalism, this "weird new therapy" has come to light (pun intended-- see picture) to the population at large. And you have seen images of the purple marks that can be left behind and imagine the process to be painful.
Most people in the West don't like having marks on them if possible, (especially the folks working in the corporate sector around here). I will allow the vacuum to remain until there is enough fresh blood flow coming to the area, then remove the cup before dramatic color change occurs. Using a Gua Sha tool, I gently "squeegee" the blood from the area, and reapply the cup, flush the area again, for several cycles. What is happening is "washing" the tissue by bringing fresh blood to the area and flushing it out again. It is a little more effort than leaving the cups on for several minutes, but there is minimal "marking" of the skin.
Moving the cup over oiled skin provides a rolling type of suction while preventing the circular marks shown in the media, and the lip of the cup flushes the fluid. Not so scary or weird now, is it?
So, why might someone want to use Cupping as a therapy?
Locally, the most obvious benefit of cupping are a relief of pain and a relaxation and increased suppleness of stiff tendons and muscles. Cupping increases the cleansing flow of lymph, while removing congested blood from the muscles. If cupping is applied to the joints, the blood flow to the joint is increased and there's an increased secretion of synovial fluid into the joint cavity.
Cupping's effect on the digestive organs is to increase their digestive secretions and enhance their peristaltic movement. Cupping can awaken the appetite, strengthen the stomach and digestion, improve the bile flow and metabolism, relieve constipation and promote regularity of the bowels.
Cupping has a dramatic detoxifying effect on the skin and circulatory system. By increasing the flow of blood and plasma through the veins and arteries, cupping enhances the cleansing and removal of toxins. This detoxification may not be observable after just one treatment, but after about three to five treatments, there will be a noticeable improvement in the color of one's complexion.
No wonder World Class Athletes are utilizing this therapy!
The British Cupping Society, which promotes cupping, states that cupping therapy can treat a variety of conditions safely, including:
- Respiratory infections
- Blood disorders, such as anemia and hemephilia
- Joint pain caused by arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Migraine and tension headaches
- Muscle aches and stiffness
- Fertility and gynecological disorders
- Skin problems such as herpes,echzema and acne
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Mental disorders, anxiety and depression
Some of the things portrayed in the "news segments" can be misleading if taken out of context (infection--really? No skin penetration in dry cupping, folks!).
If you would like to experience this for yourself, I would be happy to share it with you at either of my locations.
Dr. Max Norris, DC, Dipl. Ac.