Cupping therapy is a treatment that has been utilized for centuries, dating back to 1550 BC in Ancient Egypt. An essential part of numerous ancient healing systems from the Middle East to Korea, cupping has been used for a variety of ailments around the world.
In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping began from the belief that certain health problems are due to an imbalance of yin and yang. Cupping therapy served to restore the balance between the body’s two extremes, optimizing overall wellbeing. Now, cupping has been integrated into multiple modern-day practices, primarily for pain relief.
Cupping therapy involves the application of specialized cups on your skin to create suction. The suction causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be drawn into the cup. This process creates a localized area of increased blood flow and therapeutic suction.
Although healthcare providers typically use glass cups, cupping therapy may also be performed using cups made of:
There are two forms of cupping: wet and dry cupping. Of the two styles of cupping, Alliance Orthopedics uses dry cupping to help patients get better faster.
Dry cupping is the most common form of cupping and can be applied in a few different ways. Dry cupping may involve manual or automatic suction, where the suction’s force pulls air out of the cup, causing your skin to rise. Another method includes heating the cup prior to application, where the heat eradicates the oxygen in the cup, creating a vacuum. Both techniques aim to generate the necessary negative suction to pull your skin into the cup.
Your healthcare provider may also utilize fixed or moving cupping. As the names suggest, fixed cupping is when the cups are left in a single place on the skin, while moving cupping involves sliding the cups across the areas of your body that need to be treated.
Alliance Orthopedics primarily uses cupping to promote healing by triggering the body’s natural restorative responses, reducing inflammation, relaxing your muscles, and stimulating blood circulation. During cupping, the force of the suction breaks your small blood vessels known as capillaries under the skin. Due to the broken capillaries, your body will send blood to the region to facilitate the natural healing process, so you will likely experience some redness or bruising where the cupping took place.
Who Can Benefit from Cupping Therapy?
Cupping therapy has been used to promote healing, stimulate circulation, and relieve pain for a myriad of conditions over the years. One of the primary benefits of cupping therapy is that it alleviates musculoskeletal pain and muscular tension, particularly for patients with chronic back pain in the lumbar and cervical regions. One study found that five sessions of cupping therapy in three to four-day intervals with cups applied for around eight minutes achieved significant results in reducing patients’ overall pain.
Other conditions that cupping therapy may help mitigate include:
- Knee pain
- Facial paralysis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Shingles or herpes zoster
- Gastrointestinal disorders
Cupping for Sports Recovery
Cupping is also frequently used by high-level athletes as a form of sports recovery. Athletes may seek cupping therapy after a training session to:
- Improve joint movement
- Alleviate muscle tension points
- Diminish recovery time
- Accelerate the breakdown of toxins
- Boost immunity
- Reduce inflammation
Cupping therapy is considered safe for most people, but remember that cupping therapy is best used as a complementary therapy alongside other treatment methods.
Experience Cupping Therapy at Alliance Orthopedics
At Alliance Orthopedics, our licensed team of providers performs cupping therapy to help with various conditions. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of cupping therapy and what it can treat, or you would like to schedule an appointment.