Cupping Therapy

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How Cupping Therapy Works

In cupping bodywork, negative pressure is applied instead of the more common tissue compression used in massage. Typically following meridian lines (as in acupuncture), a suction cup is positioned around the area to be treated while a combination of negative pressure and massage movements are applied to create a vacuum within the cup which draws in skin and underlying tissues. The suction effect is said to increase circulation, relax muscles and tissues, draw out toxins, and release pain.

Benefits of Cupping Therapy

The development of Decompressive Release Techniques (DRT) offer new possibilities in cupping therapies while the pulling action of the suction cups helps:

  • Increase flow of blood and lymph
  • Facilitate release of rigid soft tissue
  • Loosen and lift connective tissue
  • Release joint stiffness
  • Break up blockages
  • Release toxins
  • Balance pH levels
  • Stimulate the nervous system
  • Relieve inflammation
  • Increase rate of recovery from pain and illness
  • Promote metabolism
  • Aid digestion
  • Treat cellulite
  • Promote deep relaxation

Chinese Cupping Equipment

One of the oldest forms of Oriental medicine, original practitioners of Chinese cupping used hollowed-out animal horns for cups, which were placed on particular meridians or points. Today, small glass cups, earthenware, or bamboo jars are used as suction devices. Cupping technique variations include:

  • Dry Cupping
  • Wet Cupping or Air Cupping
  • Gliding Cupping

Conditions Treated by Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy can stand alone but is often used in combination with other treatment modalities, such as:

  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Myofascial Release
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Reflexology
  • Physical Therapy
  • Lymphatic Drainage
  • Sports Massage

The growing number of conditions addressed by cupping include:

  • ¬†Orthopedic conditions
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Sports Injuries
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Stretch marks, varicose veins, and cellulite
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Stubborn conditions

The International Cupping Therapy Association provides comprehensive training in cupping therapies to healthcare providers.