Cupping Therapy: Cause & Effect

Everyone has seen the marks left by cupping therapy be it on a celebrity or an athlete but did you know this form of suction therapy has existed for thousands of years? This article will explore the rationale behind cupping and also explain why it leaves the marks that it does.

Cupping dates back to antiquity. Almost every culture has some record history of using a hollow tool to perform suction therapy and this tradition is alive and well today.

The application of cupping is simple to learn yet difficult to master. A glass cup is held near the skin, an alcohol drenched cotton bud held by forceps is set on fire, the forceps are inserted into the cup and removed immediately while simultaneously placing the cup on the desired area. There are many variations to this technique and many different types of cups but that is the standard fire cupping technique.

The burning question (excuse the pun) is does cupping really have any effect?

Through the use of research we know that it does indeed have a good therapeutic effect. To make it clear this article will speak about cupping from a Chinese Medicine perspective as that is the field of expertise of our clinicians.

When applying cupping therapy, the area inside the cup will rise and a different colour will appear indicating what is happening to the site; the colour may also indicate the internal health state of a patient.

This cupping mark is often referred to as a bruise however it is not since a bruise appears from trauma. A blood sample was taken from a cupping mark and it was revealed that this was old stagnated blood that had been pulled from the area of injury thus allowing fresh blood to course through the area; this idea of increased blood flow is also explored in the use of Acupuncture.

Think of the above statement from the perspective of a traffic jam. If there is a car accident on the motorway, you need to move the affected cars before traffic can resume. Cupping acts like the tow truck that pulls the wrecked cars to the side so traffic can continue to move.

The marks that appear with cupping are actually an indication that the therapy is continuing so if your marks are lasting for several days it means you are still receiving the therapeutic benefit associated with the treatment.

Cupping is recommended for a whole host of things but is most commonly applied to musculoskeletal injuries causing pain. Applied correctly, it should be a painless therapy with wonderful results.

If you would like to try cupping, please contact us for an appointment.

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