Chinese cupping therapy is a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine which also encompasses acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal medicine. Cupping can be very beneficial in treating various health conditions from pain relief to respiratory disorders, therefore can be an effective alternative to drugs and surgery for many people. Integrating cupping with acupuncture can sometimes provide a synergistic effect for certain ailments.
What is cupping?
Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (either by heat or suction) in order to draw and hold skin and superficial muscles inside the cup. It helps to alleviate pain, calm the nervous system, promotes the flow of qi and blood to a specific area or to eliminate pathogens from the body. Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available and it is frequently used after acupuncture. Cupping is generally painless and many say is more effective than massage for muscle related conditions.
How does Chinese cupping therapy work?
Glass cups are generally used for cupping, although bamboo cups are also used. Cups are activated by using a flame inside the cup to create heat, which cools and creates the desired suction effect when applied to the skin. Cups are usually left in place for 5-10 minutes although the time can range from five to fifteen minutes. Due to the suction, blood vessels expand causing red marks to remain on the skin. These marks usually last 1-2 days and are not indicative of trauma.
Cupping pulls blood to a region to stimulate healing. It is effective at stretching tight fascia and muscles. Cupping improves tissue blood flow and promotes anti-inflammatory mediators in the body.
Cupping is based on the meridian theory of the body. It removes any stagnation in the body and opens the meridians so that qi can flow freely. It also helps to rejuvenate certain meridians and organs that are not functioning at their best. Cupping can affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, and is good for deep tissue repair. It allows the tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, promote blood circulation, clear colon blockages, activate the skin, as well as clear veins, arteries and capillaries.
In summary, cupping can help you overcome old and new injury by:
- Improve circulation
- Increase oxygenation and tissue delivery
- Remove old stagnant blood
- Cause micro trauma and beneficial inflammation
- Stretch fascia and connective tissue
What Chinese cupping therapy can help?
Chinese cupping therapy can be used in the treatment of pain, sports or muscle injuries, gastrointestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), paralysis, and in reducing stretch marks, and improving the appearance of varicose veins etc. Cupping should be performed on fleshy areas of the body and should not be used on inflamed or irritated skin, in persons with high fever, convulsions or an increased tendency to bruise, or on the abdominal or lower back area during pregnancy.
For more information regarding Chinese cupping therapy, please call your closest location (Perth Clinic: 57/76 Newcastle Street (08) 9228 8828, Subiaco Clinic: 6/1 Sheen Street (08) 9380 4171). Alternatively, you can send us your queries through our online contact page.