History of Cupping
Cupping is a form of therapy for treating boils as well and generally sucking out toxins from the body. Although it is not certain exactly where it originated, cupping is believed to have been first practiced in ancient China, however, there is even pictorial evidence of cupping in Egypt as early as 1500 B.C.
This technique was later passed on to the ancient Greeks and Hippocrates, the father of medicine strongly advocated the use of cupping for almost all ills. Cupping was first documented between 200 A.D. and 300 A.D when it was used by renowned alchemist and herbalist, Ge Kong who made this technique popular by stating: “Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured.”
Cupping was used extensively by China and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and it later spread to Europe and America, becoming very popular among doctors in the 18th Century. Wet cupping, known as artificial leeching and ‘Hijamah’ in Muslim societies, where small incisions are made in the skin to draw the blood and toxins out also became very popular.
With the advent of internal medicine, cupping lost its popularity. However, it continued to be practiced by a niche group of practitioners and came back into vogue in mid 2000 when some celebrities began using this technique as a form of therapy.
Types of Cupping
There are several types of cupping, which include the following categories:
1. Weak Cupping (tonifying)
There is fire used in this method, but the fire and suction are less intense, making it a suitable technique to use on very young and very old patients as well. It is used to remove excess heat from the body which is believed to cause stress, stomach, and neurological problems.
2. Medium Cupping (tonifying)
Here, although the suction is slightly stronger, it is still mild enough to be used on children aged 7 and above. It is used to treat muscular and stress related problems in children.
3. Strong Cupping (draining)
In this method, the suction is the strongest and is likely to leave marks on the patient. It is used for removal of toxins and to improve blood circulation and is particularly useful for the treatment of Frozen Shoulder.
4. Moving Cupping
This method involves moving the cup along the surface of the body, using creams and lubricants. It is supposed to provide relief for acne, skin lesions, and inflammation.
5. Needle Cupping (draining)
Here a needle is used in combination with the suction cup to draw out toxins. It is particularly useful for treating inflamed and painful joints.
6. Moxa (Hot Needle) Cupping
In this method, heat is applied while using the cup and needle, through herbs like Moxa (Artemisia Vulgaris, or Mugwort). It is good for common cold and flu and also provides relief for joint pains and headaches, impotence and complications in pregnancy.
7. Empty (Flash) Cupping
This method involves a weak suction and the cups are moved periodically. It is useful for treating children for improving the immune system.
8. Full (Bleeding) Cupping
Here a lancet is used to initiate bleeding and the foul blood containing toxins is drained off. It is used for treating blood pressure as well as boils. It also helps with diarrhea and constipation.
9. Herbal Cupping
Useful in stiffness and muscular aches, this method involves using bamboo cups which are boiled in a pan of water and applied to the body, combined with herbs.
10. Water Cupping
A highly-skilled procedure, water cupping involves using bamboo cups which are filled with one-third of warm water. This is used for treating dry cough, asthma, rheumatism, and local swellings and pain.
Benefits of Cupping
As you can see from the above points, there are several benefits to be enjoyed from cupping. To sum them up, the major benefits are:
1. Blood Pressure Reduction
The suction action helps to loosen muscles which results in controlling blood pressure through improved blood circulation.
2. Back and Neck Pain Relief
This is one of the most popular uses of cupping and you can experience instant relief as a result.
3. Weight Loss
In combination with the application of certain oils, the cups are moved around the skin to help in weight loss.
4. Deep Tissue Therapy
The deep tissue penetrating power of cupping helps to provide relief from fatigue and migraines.
The suction caused by cupping drains toxins from the skin, thereby breaking down toxins embedded in the muscular tissue.
While undergoing cupping therapy, it also activates endorphins in the body which creates a sensation of relaxation, where the patient gets a feeling of lightness and reduced stress.
7. Internal Injuries
If you have any internal injuries, cupping will not only help in healing those but it will help to heal the scar tissue as well.
8. Boosts Skin Health
It has been proven that cupping actually reduces herpes, acne, cellulite removal and skin inflammation. As it improves blood flow to the tiny capillaries it improves the overall skin tone.
9. Improved Energy Flow
Cups are positioned on the energy focal points, which removes the bad energy of the body. The result is that you feel revitalized and invigorated after a cupping session.
Combination of Cupping with other Techniques
Although on its own cupping is highly effective, most practitioners combine it with other techniques like acupuncture, acupressure, and aromatherapy and so on, to increase the effectiveness. In fact, cupping is usually practiced as a part of the entire range of therapies that an acupuncturist or acupressure practitioner may use. So while going in for cupping, you would do well to be open to having other techniques performed on you which in combination with cupping would be extremely beneficial.
The benefits of cupping are vast, and you can especially benefit from this alternative medical procedure when regular, conventional medical procedures offer little or no relief. Due to the absence of side-effects other than minor bruising which lasts for 4 to 10 days, it has become extremely popular, especially with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham, Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian going in for it.