What is Cupping Therapy (CT)?
Cupping Therapy, originating from traditional Chinese medicine, has been used for thousands of years to offer people relief from pain, inflammation, and circulatory problems. It’s now making a comeback – especially with athletes and celebrities – and evidence shows that it may be justified.
How Does it Work?
In its original form, fire was used to create a vacuum seal in glass cups applied to various parts of the body. In the more modern spa version of cupping therapy, a manual or electric pump is used to create a vacuum seal, and the cups may be made of glass, plastic, bamboo, or medical grade silicone. Depending on the treatment, the cups may be left in one spot, or they may be moved around to provide a deep massage-like sensation. Don’t be alarmed if you notice circular bruising or red marks after your treatment - it’s completely normal. In fact, if you watched the 2016 Olympic games, you likely witnessed these marks all over Michael Phelps’ body!
What are the Benefits to CT?
CT is thought to promote healing by increasing circulation to localized areas. This action mimics your body’s natural inflammatory response summoning fresh, oxygen-rich red blood cells along with white blood cells and nutrients to combat inflammation and reduce the presence of metabolic waste.
Scientists reviewed over one hundred studies on Cupping Therapy and found evidence that this process helped alleviate chronic pain and inflammation (especially of the neck and back), and nerve pain (especially when due to shingles). There was even data showing that it helped patients who have facial paralysis. When combined with treatments like acupuncture and medications, CT was shown to boost their effectiveness.
Additionally, CT is becoming increasingly popular for beautification purposes. Because CT promotes increased blood flow, those suffering from varicose veins (aka spider veins) are likely to benefit. This therapy may also prove valuable for those dealing with acne. As a bonus, you may even notice a visible reduction in the appearance of scars.
Considering these upsides come with almost zero risks, it’s no surprise that CT is having a moment. From potentially easing pain and inflammation to enhancing the beautification of the skin - the evidence is compelling that you’ll likely see improvements in your overall health by giving it a try! Talk with an experienced practitioner at your spa to learn more!
The BEingWELL Team