Cupping is a type of therapy that involves the practitioner applying special cups onto the skin of the patient in order to create a suction effect with either heat or air. The vacuum that has been created draws the skin and blood vessels inwards toward the cup, enabling blood and body fluids to be mobilised and to move freely within the tissues – This helps to improve circulation, loosen tight muscles, fascia, and joints, and reduce swelling and discomfort. Cupping is also thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect due to the affect on lymphocyte and platelet count in addition to increasing oxygenation to the cells to increase the body’s own healing response. Although cupping therapy drew worldwide attention during the 2016 Rio Olympics, Cupping has in fact been around for thousands of years, and has been used heavily in both Eastern and Western cultures.
What should I expect?
Cupping can be used as a standalone treatment, or in conjunction with Acupuncture and/or Tuina medical massage. To begin with, before any treatment is given, a thorough consultation of your medical history and symptoms, including any medication that you are currently taking, is assessed in order to make a clear diagnosis of your condition. Once a diagnosis has been made, glass or plastic suction cups are placed on certain areas of the body. The vacuum that has been created in the cups (either by heat or air) causes the skin to be pulled up slightly into the cup. The cups are then left on for 5-15 minutes whilst the desired effect takes place. The cups are then carefully removed and a light massage may be applied in order to help reduce any bruising that may be caused by the suction on the skin.