What is Therapeutic Cupping?

The cupping treatment might sound a bit like a new-age treatment you might see at a Himalayan Wellness Spa. Cupping is actually an ancient alternative medicine treatment traced back to the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Egyptian civilizations. In fact, the Eber Papyrus, one of the world’s earliest medical textbooks, shares how the ancient Egyptians used cupping back in 1,550 B.C.

How It Works

Special cups are used and heated with fire, often using alcohol, herbs, and paper that are placed directly into the cup and heated with fire. Once the fire is out, the hot cup is put on your skin. As the air cools inside the cup, a vacuum pulls your skin and muscles up into the cup. Cupping is believed to help the body’s yin and yang, or negative and positive energies, to be balanced. It is bringing these two extremes back into equilibrium. It is also said to help relax, ease pain, increase blood flow, and act as a deep tissue massage.

Types of Cupping

There are four main types of cupping techniques out there.

  • Dry cupping – a suction-only type of cupping
  • Wet cupping – a suction and controlled medicinal bleeding cupping
  • Running cupping – suction cups are run around the body after massaging the desired location with oil.
  • Flash Cupping – cups are suctioned and released repeatedly onto the body.

Cupping can be done in the following areas:

  • Legs
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Stomach
  • Buttocks

Take Away

As always, conduct comprehensive research into your practitioners before beginning any alternative treatment. All acupuncturists or Asian medicine practitioners should be certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

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