Cupping therapy is a form of ancient Chinese practice that is used to release blood to an area in hopes of reducing pain or increase circulation to a specific area of the body. This technique is accomplished by creating a vacuum on the skin with a small glass cup in order to draw blood to the surface. In order to create the suction, fire or air suctioning is typically used. In order to reduce friction on the skin, oil or cocoa butter is placed on the skin prior to the cup.
Some hazards have been seen with this type of therapy technique. There have been incidences of burning the patient or worsening their symptoms instead of causing a beneficial outcome. Typical side effects include bruising, soreness, and skin irritation. Cupping has been considered safe to use when it is performed by a trained health care professional. It should not be performed on people with underlying health conditions due to findings where there have been more serious side effects.
Although there are hesitations to using cupping, many benefits have been observed. Muscle tension, low back pain, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and many more conditions have been improved by cupping therapy. Cupping was used in the most recent Olympics and has continued to become more popular in the United States. If other forms of therapy have been unsuccessful, cupping may be a fitting option.
It is essentially up to the clinician and the patient to determine if cupping is a suitable form of therapy. This type of therapy is individualistic and should be carefully considered before performing.
Al Bedah Abdullah M.N., Khalil Mohamed K.M., Posadzki Paul, Sohaibani Imen, Aboushanab Tamer Shaaban, AlQaed Meshari, and Ali Gazzaffi I.M.. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. August 2016, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/acm.2016.0193.
Cupping | NCCIH. (2016, August 19). Retrieved September 27, 2016, from https://nccih.nih.gov/news/cupping
Dharmananda, S. (1999, March). Cupping. Retrieved September 27, 2016, from http://www.itmonline.org/arts/cupping.htm