Understanding Cupping Therapy and Its Potential Benefits

A popular holistic therapy, cupping has been around for thousands of years. As a traditional Chinese therapy, cupping uses cups strategically placed on the body to pull the tissues, muscle, and skin outward, relieving tension. Many professional athletes and famous personalities have pushed the practice into the public domain after showing up to events with alien-like suction marks on their backs and necks, sparking debate about the practice's efficacy.

Massage Versus Cupping

Traditionally, athletes used massage to relax muscles, relieve pain, and improve performance, but acupuncturists — those who typically perform cupping therapies — argue that cupping is a superior practice.  A massage therapist puts downward pressure on the body, potentially causing more discomfort rather than relief. Using glass, plastic, or another material, Cupping converts suction into outward directional force, like a vacuum, to relieve chronic pain.

Advantages of Cupping

Practitioners cannot share enough about the potential benefits of cupping therapy. People use the treatment to improve circulation, relieve pain, release tension, and increase the body's detoxification processes. However, beyond the physical advantages, proponents of the practice speak to mental health benefits, such as stress and anxiety relief. While there is limited research on most holistic treatments, many people who experience cupping provide glowing reviews, talking about it helped with their headaches, chronic pain, allergies, skin conditions, fatigue, and so much more.

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Personal Experience

No one can tell you if cupping therapy will work for you, but from the moment those cups are placed on your back, you will know something is happening. The suction is almost instantaneous. While the experience is not painful for everyone, some people do say it hurts. Thankfully, if you feel any pain, you can tell the therapist, and they can relieve some of the pressure.

As the therapist removes the cups, there is a rush of relief—whether the release of the suction or the therapy working, you be the judge. However, there is no denying that you will leave the office feeling some relief.

Bruising Is Part of the Process

Not every person will experience bruising, but those that do will have them on average for up to a week. The marks can be subtle, or they can look like an ogre made out with your spine. It's a small price to pay if the therapy works, especially for those going through tremendous pain.

Duration of the Appointment and Frequency of Visits

The cupping process is not long, typically 15 to 30 minutes. The acupuncturists move pretty quickly after determining the correct placement for pain relief, and the cups do not need to sit on your body for very long.

If you find that the process works for you, you can get it done three times per week. However, most people recommend waiting for the bruises to heal before attempting another session. You can speak to your therapist to determine the proper schedule for your needs.

Cupping therapy is nothing new; although, it is currently trending. The Chinese have been using cupping therapy for centuries, along with several other holistic practices. While there is no guarantee the therapy will work for you, it might be worth it, especially for those suffering from chronic pain. What do you think about the practice? Will you give it a try? Leave a comment below.

One Reply to “Understanding Cupping Therapy and Its Potential Benefits”

  1. Hello, I am certified Chinese herbalist and certified to cup as well. I only within the past year received my certificate for cupping. I love doing and receiving. I practiced on my older son, he said that it worked and for him he did not start to feel the pain come back for almost 2 full weeks. After that now he gets it done regularly. If feels like someone grabbed a bunch of skin and is squeezing like pinching more than an inch with a slight pull, it’s more pressure than pain. If there is pain, uncomfortable pain tell your practitioner, never should it be painful. Yes you get hicky type bruises, they fade away a little everyday, but should not last longer than a week. It’s is caused by the pulling action of the cups, it helps to break up any stagnation that is causing the pain by pulling the blood to the skin surface then releasing quickly. There are special cups used for this. This is a great option for someone who is afraid of acupuncture, although I have had both and I get good results from both, and still no pain.
    Also is great if you do not have the time for a full massage. It’s quick and less expensive. And non-invasive. A great healing modality.

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