Cupping therapy is often used as part of an acupuncture or massage treatment, but it can also be given as a treatment on its own.
It is used to soften tight muscles, loosen adhesions and lift connective tissue, bring hydration and blood flow to body tissues, move deep inflammation and open lymphatic pathways.
Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
The cups are placed on the skin and using a suction hand pump, local suction is created on the skin. This is not a painful experience – the pressure is sensitively controlled by the hand pump and it is easily adjusted to ensure comfort.
Dry cupping does not cause any bleeding, however in areas of tension and pain, red marks will often appear. The colouring of marks is a good indication of how long the local blood has been stagnant and the speed of recovery.
The British Cupping Society outlines a variety of conditions that cupping therapy can treat, in addition to muscular pain and tension:
- Blood disorders such as anaemia
- Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Fertility and gynecological disorders
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne
- High Blood Pressure
- Anxiety and depression
- Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
- Varicose veins
A combination of static and sliding cupping is usually used. Oils allow the cups to slide across the skin creating a pleasant sensation similar to Deep Tissue Massage.