To most people living in the West, cupping therapy was relatively unknown until recently. This ancient healing technique has been used in China since around 1000 B.C. although some documents show that certain forms of cupping practices might actually be more ancient — probably dating as far back as 3000 B.C.
Cupping therapy offers a wide range of health benefits that often outweighs current conventional medical treatments.
Perhaps, the greatest benefit of trying alternative treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture or cupping therapy is that these modalities don’t have the unwanted side effects as surgery or pharmaceutical medications does.
Since studies reveal alternative therapies like cupping can help speed up healing time and enhance immune function without the use of herbs or drugs, there’s actually no real downside to using these natural procedures. And this is just one of the many benefits of cupping therapy.
Cupping Therapy – Five Health Benefits
Much of the proof of cupping therapy as a viable medical alternative stems from its more than 3,000 years of use. It has been widely used to resolve a number of symptoms and disorders, sometimes in conjunction with other alternative practices; other times, on its own. Cupping therapy practitioners commonly use it in combination with acupuncture, essential oils, massage therapy, or even as a complementary treatment to Western medical treatments.
Based on a number of scientific studies that have been conducted, cupping therapy helps expand the capillaries and increases the amount of fluid coming in and out of the tissues. In addition, this therapy appears to elicit a relaxation response in some individuals implying it is helpful in reducing stress and all its adverse effects.
While there’s hundreds of anecdotal evidence that prove the safety and effectiveness of cupping, to date, only a handful of clinical studies have been done using humans as test subjects. This makes it difficult to validate many of the time-proven advantages of cupping. Nevertheless, this therapy has helped countless numbers of people throughout millennia, so listed below here are 5 ways in which cupping might be of benefit to you:
1. Strengthens Digestion
Lessening symptoms from disorders such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and strengthening digestion can be achieved through the use of acupuncture and cupping. Mostly, this might be due to the fact that these modalities have shown to lessen the stress response of a patient, which is directly related to a healthy digestive mechanism.
Over the course of time, cupping therapy has been shown to benefit people suffering from water retention, gastrointestinal diseases, loss of appetite, acute gastritis, diarrhea and frequent stomach pains. This therapy is usually administered on the following parts of the body: over the abdomen, around, the kidneys, over the bladder, and around the bellybutton.
2. Helps Cure Colds and other Respiratory Conditions
Frequently utilized to clear away congestion, expelling phlegm and nourishing the lungs, cupping therapy helps speed up healing time from respiratory diseases such as common cold and flu. It helps boost immune function by moving lymphatic fluid and blood throughout the system which is why it has been associated with reductions in asthma, lung infections, allergies and other lung conditions (especially chronic cough).
Curing pulmonary tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases is one of the most ancient uses for cupping and was used long before prescriptions came into fashion.
3. Improves the Health of the Skin
Cupping is mainly used to treat skin inflammation, acne, cellulite, and herpes. Although research hasn’t demonstrated how cupping can help with weight loss, in truth, this therapy firms and tones the skin by expanding capillaries and improving blood flow making it popular among people in the spotlight and celebrities who want to show off their newly toned skin. Usually, oil is first applied on the skin as, part of a cellulite or skin-clearing treatment before beginning a cupping procedure. Heat is thus brought to the area of treatment along with a number skin-healing ingredients based on the kind of oil used.
While cupping helps lower inflammation and improves blood flow within the body, some clinical trials have discovered that it is as effective, and sometimes, even more effective than antibiotics in treating acne. Based on results from a meta-analysis of 6 studies, following use of ketoconazole, tetracycline, and tanshinone prescriptions, the rate of cure of wet cupping for treating acne, was much better than the results from the these three antibiotic drugs.
4. Encourages Relaxation
This might seem counterintuitive, but since it sedates the central nervous system, cupping is known to help relieve physical ailments and enables people to enter a more relaxed state. This effect is also generated by acupuncture, which one might assume is uncomfortable and painful but actually appears to help reduce most of the stress responses of patients and so provide protection against depression and anxiety.
How can cupping cause someone to relax? Just the act of being “taken care of” and laying still during a session of cupping therapy might bring about a positive effect on the psychological well-being of a person, which is why the therapy is often utilized to address mental illnesses. Patients might need to remain still for up to 20 minutes once the cups are applied on the skin and suctioned forcing silence and stillness on patients who otherwise might lead very busy lives. One other reason cupping can be so relaxing is because the cups take away the pressure in tight muscles, generating a relieving feeling just like getting a deep tissue massage.
5. Helps Alleviate Pain
People are looking for a natural and safe way to alleviate muscle and joint pain. This is perhaps the most common reason they turn to alternative therapies like cupping. An article featured in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, showed that after a review of scores of clinical randomized trials that tested cupping therapy in patients with pain of any origin, researchers discovered that cupping reduced pain significantly in people with low back problems compared to conventional medical treatments. The article also demonstrated positive effects in cancer pain treatment compared to painkillers and anticancer medications, and relieved pain related with respiratory conditions.
Cupping is believed to alleviate stiffness and loosen tight muscles associated with chronic fatigue, rheumatism, migraines, and neck and back pains and release tissues deep inside the body. To naturally enhance their performance, some athletes have turned to cupping therapy helping treat their scar tissue caused by injuries, and alleviate joint muscle pains, cramps, and stiffness.
Cupping heals soft tissue soreness by applying pressure to pain pressure points and regions of swelling. Tissues receive important oxygen and nutrients as blood circulation increases within capillaries and vessels. Practitioners make use of needles, suctioning, heat, and pressure over or below the site of treatment enabling energy to flow along the meridians or “energy channels” that pass through the treatment site.
Cups are usually applied over the following body parts to help lower pain:
• Around the lower back
• By the neck (for reducing migraines, toothaches, or tension headaches)
• Over the loins/groin
• Over the fleshy part of the shoulder blades