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What is Cupping?

Author Yusuf Wasway / Category Cupping / Published: Mar-06-2019

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

Fire Cupping

Fire cupping involves soaking a cotton ball in almost pure alcohol. The cotton is clamped by a pair of forceps and lit via match or lighter, and, in one motion, placed into the cup and quickly removed, while the cup is placed on the skin. Fire heats the inside of the cup and a small amount of suction is created by the air cooling down again and contracting. Massage oil may be applied to create a better seal as well as allow the cups to glide over muscle groups in an act called "moving cupping". Dark circles may appear where the cups were placed because of rupture of the capillaries just under the skin. There are documented cases of burns caused by fire cupping.

Wet Cupping

Wet cupping is also known as Hijama (Arabic: حجامة‎ lit. "sucking") or medicinal bleeding, where blood is drawn by local suction from a small skin incision. The first reported usages are found in the Islamic hadith, sayings attributed to or describing the actions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Hadith from Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri and Ahmad ibn Hanbal support its recommendation and use by Muhammad. As a result, wet cupping has remained a popular remedy practiced in many parts of the Muslim world.

Facial Cupping

There are 43 muscles in the face. Just like we exercise our body, it's necessary to exercise our face. Just like our body benefits from a well deserved massage, so does our face. By exercising our facial muscles, we improve blood circulation which helps deliver fresh oxygenated blood carrying vital nutrients to our skin, all while helping to get rid of toxins via lymphatic drainage, tighten pores, and revive poor muscle tone.

With Nature's Blends Cupping Set you can finally enjoy professional face cupping facial massage previously available only to the Hollywood Stars in the comfort of your home.

Silicone Cupping

A common application for silicone cupping is the treatment of cellulite. Cellulite, also known as ‘orange-peel syndrome”, is often caused by poor moisture drainage in the skin area around belly, buttocks and thighs. As a result, nods and dimples may develop under the skin in this area. Lymphatic fluid may eventually turn into fat cells, causing a lumpy skin to become visible. Regular cupping will improve the skin condition and can reduce cellulite.

What are the different types of Cupping?

There are different methods of cupping, including:

  • Dry
  • Wet

 

During both types of cupping, your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he puts the cup upside down on your skin.

As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes.

A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.

Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for about 3 minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.

You might get 3-5 cups in your first session. Or you might just try one to see how it goes. It’s rare to get more than 5-7 cups, the British Cupping Society notes.

Afterward, you may get an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. Your skin should look normal again within 10 days.

Cupping therapy supporters believe that wet cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing. But that’s not proven.

What Does the Research Show?

There haven’t been many scientific studies on cupping.

One report, published in 2015 in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, notes that it could help with acne, herpes zoster, and pain management.

That’s similar to the findings from a 2012 report, published in PLoS One. Australian and Chinese researchers reviewed 135 studies on cupping. They concluded that cupping therapy may be effective when people also get other treatments, like acupuncture or medications, for various diseases and conditions, such as:

  • Herpes zoster
  • Acne
  • Facial paralysis
  • Cervical spondylosis

 

But those researchers noted many of the studies they reviewed could have been biased and that better studies are needed.

The British Cupping Society says that cupping therapy is used to treat:

  • Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia
  • Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • Fertility and gynecological disorders
  • Skin problems such as eczema and acne
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
  • Varicose veins

What are the side effects?

Cupping is fairly safe, as long as you go to a trained health professional. But you could have these side effects in the area where the cups touch your skin:

  • Mild discomfort
  • Burns
  • Bruises
  • Skin infection

Where can I get cupping done?

There are many cupping clinics that are being to emerge. Visit our cupping clinic directory to find your closest clinic.

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