Second Opinion Magazine
What Is Cupping?
by Dr Casey Castona, Acupuncuture for Wellness, Eau Claire, Menomonie and Bloomer
Cupping was originally used in China and Egypt, dating back some 3,500 years, where its use was mentioned in hieroglyphics. Before the invention of glass, therapists would use cow horns or bamboo to remove blood and poison from the body; clinical experience over the years has advanced its application to many areas of the body. Cupping is primarily for the treatment of disease and pain. This has not changed right up to today, but with modern science and more understanding of the technique, cupping has confirmed its rightful place in complementary medicine.
How does cupping work? The application of cupping is very simple, but its effects are dramatic. Health and well-being (immune system) is totally reliant on the movement of blood, energy, and body fluids (hormones, lymphatic fluid, etc). Oriental medicine teaches that all pain is due to blood that doesn’t move correctly. Due to the wonderful pulling power and heat that the cups offer, the technique is dramatic in its reduction of pain and hence our feeling of well-being. The stuck blood can be a result of injury, stress, a lack of blood, energy, or even the cold weather affecting the body and joints. Cupping has been found to affect up to 4 inches into the tissues, causing the tissues to release toxins; activate and clear colon blockages; help activate and clear the veins, arteries, and capillaries; clear stretch marks; and improve varicose veins.
Why does cupping create marks on the skin and do they hurt? Yes, cupping will leave marks. The marks can range in color from a deep purple to a pale pink. They do not hurt if cupping is done correctly. Cupping can after a very short time relieve tension and pain from the muscles, which helps to increase mobility also decreasing tension and pain. The benefits of cupping therapy are endless. The stimulating and strengthening effects of cupping have been used successfully for thousands of years.
When should cupping NOT be used? People on blood thinners, like warfarin and heparin, should not receive cupping because of possible bleeding problems. Anyone with open wounds that have not healed should not receive cupping, because wounds can reopen with cupping. Also, people with thin skin are not good candidates for cupping because skin can tear with cupping.