Perhaps, a lot of our readers are already familiar with some of TCM’s (traditional Chinese medicine’s) more popular modalities. They include herbal medicine, massage therapy, and acupuncture. But did you know that there is one lesser-known TCM standard of treatment called cupping therapy that can help cure several forms of illnesses?
This protocol involves the application of small jars or cups to the skin and suctioning them away from the body. Cupping has been used by the ancient Egyptians since 1500 B.C. to treat a variety of health conditions including pain, weak appetite, menstrual disorders, vertigo, and fever. Taoist herbal practitioners used cupping therapy later on for various purposes including the promotion of healthy blood circulation, removal of toxins off the body, and in inducing relaxation, among many others.
Today, this extremely versatile and yet simple technique can be an ideal treatment for all types of health conditions, which makes it an ideal option to surgery and drugs for a lot of people. These unique little cups, whether they were made from modern materials like silicon, or from bamboo or glass, have been proven to work in many clinical studies that make them worthy of further investigation.
Chinese Cupping Therapy – How Does It Work?
In a cupping therapy procedure, a practitioner of TCM first creates suction inside the cups. One of the ways this is done is by applying alcohol to the bottom of the cups and lighting them up. The air inside the cups contracts when the flame is extinguished and the generated heat that eventually cools causes a natural suction.
Then the cups are applied on the skin and either kept apart and lifted gently or moved in a technique called gliding cupping. Whatever method one chooses, the suction inside the cups will lift the skin away from the body to produce negative pressure. The nervous system is sedated, healthy blood flow is achieved, and muscle tissue is loosened as a result of this negative pressure.
Most of the time, acupuncturists combine cupping to acupuncture treatment, although like acupuncture, cupping can also be used as a standalone treatment. Cupping is used to alleviate rheumatism, migraines, fatigue, anxiety, stiff muscles, neck and back pains, and even cellulite.
Cupping is usually used alongside acupuncture because both treatments are compatible to the meridian pathways of the body. These lines are known to be the channels by which the life force or qi of the body flows. Cupping therapy uses the five meridian lines at the back since most of the time this treatment is administered on the patient’s back. This both helps relax and align the qi and opens up the meridians through which energy circulates.
Cupping is a very effective deep-tissue therapy and is believed to benefit tissues as deep as four inches from the epidermis. Within these four inches of affected materials, arteries and veins can be refreshed, blockages can be removed and toxins can be eliminated. The treatment can even be used on the ankles, legs, wrists, and hands, therefore applying the therapy to certain organs that associate with these points.
Cupping is an ideal treatment for respiratory and lung conditions. It is also an extremely effective healing method for the common cold and asthma. In fact, among the earliest recorded conditions for which cupping therapy was considered to work was on respiratory ailments.
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