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8 Things You Need to Know About Cupping

Cupping is an alternative therapy that involves placing small cups on the skin which create suction. The suction facilitates healing and improves blood circulation, in addition to providing many other benefits. Cupping is typically used in combination with other forms of treatment. 

Keep reading to find out eight important facts you should know about cupping.

1. Cupping is an Ancient Therapy

Cupping is an ancient practice that originated thousands of years ago using cups made from animal horns. Some estimates of original historical references state the practice is as perhaps 5,000 years old and originated in Egypt or the Middle East. However, experts agree that cupping has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for at least 3,000 years. Cups have historically been made of bamboo, ceramic, and glass, and the cups were heated with fire then applied to the skin, drawing the skin as the cup cooled. Many modern-day practitioners of cupping therapies use silicone cups which suction to the skin without heat.

2. There are Multiple Variations of Cupping Therapies

There are many types of cupping, some variations include heat, herbs, acupuncture, or even controlled medicinal bleeding. At TORQ Physical Therapy, we use four variations of cupping therapy. 

3. Cupping Has Multiple Proven Benefits

During your cupping session, the cups create suction and negative pressure which permeates through the skin and into the deep fascia and muscles of the body. Your provider uses this pressure for the following benefits:

4. Cupping is Used to Treat a Wide Variety of Conditions

Cupping therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions and symptoms. In addition to treating skeletal and muscle conditions, cupping is also used around the world for blood circulation, digestion, irritable bowel syndrome, immune system health, allergies, facial paralysis, and skin conditions such as acne, eczema, wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, and cellulite. Cupping has also been found to be an effective prevention method against liver disease. Your cupping practitioner will be able to assess your needs and determine the most effective placement of cups for you.

5. Cups Can be Placed Around the Body

Just like massage treatments, cupping is not only used on the back. The cups can be placed in many different configurations around the body. Depending on your injury or condition, your provider will know the correct locations for treatment. 

6. Cupping is Generally Considered Safe for Most People

The side effects of cupping can include feeling lightheaded, sweaty, nauseous, or mild discomfort during treatment, or bruising, which usually disappears within 15 minutes to a few days after treatment. If you feel discomfort during your cupping session, you should communicate with your practitioner. They will be able to adjust your treatment to ensure you get the best results for your specific needs. 

If you have read about cupping, you might have seen that the side effects include infections, burns, or scarring. Cupping therapy with a trained professional should not create any of these adverse reactions. The risk of injury during cupping therapy is considered to be small and easily avoided by a trained professional.

7. When Cupping Should be Avoided

Generally speaking, cupping is not recommended for children under the age of four or people of advanced age. Certain cupping therapies are not recommended for pregnant or menstruating women or people with some medical conditions, such as kidney disease or heart failure. Cupping should not be performed on areas of the skin which are sunburned or have an open wound.

A professionally trained cupping therapist will discuss your health and medical history along with the details of your specific condition and goals for treatment before your first session to determine your most effective and safe treatment plan.

8. Skip the DIY

Cupping should be performed by a trained professional. Although cupping is typically considered to be safe, it is not recommended for everyone. Depending on your medical history, your provider will know where to place the cups, which type of cupping to use, how much pressure should be used in each cup, and more. Cups should be properly disinfected after each use and used properly each time they are placed. Improper use of cupping therapies can lead to pain, advanced bruising, and injury.

Final Thoughts

Cupping therapy can be used to treat a variety of injuries and conditions and provides many health benefits, such as releasing chronically tight muscles, connective tissue, and internal scar tissue, increasing blood circulation, and easing pain. This ancient therapy has been made modern, with practitioners using cups to treat their patients safely and effectively. 

At TORQ Physical Therapy, we want to ensure that you get the most effective treatment possible. Contact us for a free discovery visit or phone consultation to discuss your health goals and see if cupping is right for you!