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Mon. May 27th, 2024

Cupping:explore an ancient therapy

Cupping is also a type of physical therapy, and cupping is one of the best economic and effective treatment in folk. It has been using as a popular natural therapy in folk since ancient China.

Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy uses a cup made by different materials as a tool works on the physical body surface.

It is a treatment method for preventing and curing diseases and strengthening the physical body.

To remove the air in the cup by burning, squeezing or other methods, resulting a negative pressure in the cup, then put the cup on a certain physical body surface(affected area, acu-points).

The negative pressure of the cup keeps the cup absorb on the skin surface.

The adsorption causes extensive irritation and forming local congestion or congestion on the skin surface.

There is fire cupping, air cupping, etc.

Ancient people used it to suck blood and drain pus when treating sore abscesses. Or cupping on the surface of the skin just for a health maintenance. Today, cupping is also used for internal diseases such as tuberculosis and rheumatism.

Types of Cupping

1. Bamboo Cup

Bamboo grows in the south, therefore bamboo cups are mostly used in the south of China.

Solid and mature bamboo is the main materials for bamboo cups.

On large body area such as back and hips is with large caliber bamboo cups ; for limbs joints usually is with small caliber cups.

If bamboo cups are not commonly used for a long time, they would be too dry and easy to penetrate into the air.

So, those bamboo cups have to soak in warm water for a few minutes to make the bamboo pot tight and airtight before using it.

2. Ceramic Cup

Clay is the main materials for ceramic cup. Ceramic cup is smooth inside and outside, and it has a large suction force.

It is economical and practical. People in the north of China usually use ceramic cups for cupping therapy.

3. Glass Cup

It has a small mouth and a large cavity. The mouth of the glass cup is slightly turned outwards, and it is smooth, without burrs. The wall is thick and the sides are wide.

The advantage of glass cup is transparent, so the changes at the cupping site can be observed at any time, so it is most commonly used modern clinically.

Because of the convenience of observation, it is especially suitable for puncture and cupping.

4. Air suction cup

It is made of transparent plastic and is not easy to break. The upper piston is convenient for pumping air.

5. Horn cup

Horns are the main material for horn cups. Being durable is the advantage of horn cups but it is rarely used because they are animal horns.

6. Copper cup

It is the traditional cupping of Tibetan medicine and Mongolian medicine.

The Mechanism of Cupping

1. The negative pressure effect

The negative pressure of cupping will cause a large number of bubbles overflow on the skin surface, strengthen the gas exchange of the local tissues.

The negative pressure causes local capillary permeability changes and capillary rupture; a small amount of blood enters the interstitial space, resulting in blood stasis; red blood cells were destroyed; hemoglobin was released and self-hemolysis occurred.

In the body’s self-regulation, it produces the effects of promoting qi and blood circulation, relaxing muscles and collaterals, reducing swelling and pain, dispelling wind and dampness, and playing a benign stimulus to restore normal functions.

2. The warming effect

Cupping has a warm and stimulating effect on the local skin, so that heat and cold can be exchanged.

The most obvious is the big cupping pot, water pot, and medicine pot.

Warm stimulation can dilate blood vessels, promote local blood circulation, improve congestion, strengthen metabolism, accelerate the excretion of wastes and toxins in the body, change the nutritional status of local tissues, enhance the permeability of blood vessel walls, and enhance white blood cells.

The phagocytic activity of reticulocytes enhances local tolerance and body resistance, plays a role in warming the meridians and dispelling cold, clearing away heat and detoxification, so as to achieve the purpose of promoting the improvement of the disease.

3. The regulating effect

Bases on the negative pressure or warming effect, the regulating effect of cupping is on the nervous system firstly.

Due to a series of benign stimuli given to the body due to self-hemolysis, it acts on the peripheral receptors of the nervous system, conducts to the heart, and reaches the cerebral cortex.

In addition, the warm stimulation of cupping therapy is transmitted to the central nervous system through the reflex pathways of the skin receptors and vascular receptors occurs reflex excitement. It adjusts the excitement and inhibition process of the cerebral cortex to tending balance and strengthen.

The regulation function of the cerebral cortex on various parts of the body makes the corresponding tissue metabolism of the affected skin vigorous, enhances the phagocytosis, promotes the body’s recovery of function, adjusts the imbalance of yin and yang, and makes the disease gradually healed.

The second is to regulate microcirculation and improve metabolism.

The main function of microcirculation is to exchange substances between blood and tissues, and the regulation of its function is of great significance in physiology and pathology.

It can also strengthen the lymphatic circulation and activate the phagocytic ability of lymphocytes.

In addition, due to the self-hemolysis phenomenon after cupping therapy, a histamine-like substance is then produced which circulates throughout the body with body fluids, stimulates various organs and enhances their functional vitality, which helps the body’s function recovery.

4. Different functions of different methods

Based on the common characteristics of cupping therapy, different cupping methods have their own special functions.

For example, the walking cupping has similar effects to massage therapy and skin scraping therapy which can improve the breathing and nutrition of the skin.

These therapies are conducive to the secretion of sweat glands and sebaceous glands.

They can enhance the elasticity and mobility of joints and tendons and promote peripheral blood circulation.

They can increase the blood flow of the muscles, enhance the working ability and endurance of the muscles, and prevent muscle atrophy.

These therapies can deepen breathing, enhance gastrointestinal motility, excite the nerves innervating the abdominal organs, and enhance the secretory function of gastrointestinal organs.

They can accelerate the return of blood in the venous blood vessels, reduce the large circulatory resistance, reduce the burden on the heart, and adjust the distribution of muscle and internal organ blood flow and reserves.

Slow and light cupping has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Rapid and heavy cupping has a certain excitatory effect on the nervous system.

The Medical Benefits

Cupping can promote qi and blood circulation, expel wind and cold, reduce swelling and relieve pain.

So it has a certain therapeutic effect on back muscle strain and lumbar disc herniation.

Upon on acupuncture points of the human body, cupping therapy can headaches, dizziness, eye swelling, coughing, wheezing, abdominal pain and other problems.

Multiple cups can be used at the same time.

Suitable crowd

This physical therapy is not suitable for people who have skin allergies, ulcers, edema and large blood vessels.

It is also not suitable for people with high fever and convulsions, as well as the abdomen and lumbosacral areas of pregnant women.

In addition, people are with chronic lung diseases can cause alveolar rupture.

People are with underlying lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, lung abscess, bronchiectasis, etc., are not suitable for cupping.

When there is inflammation in the lungs, it is often accompanied by damage to the alveoli or fluid retention in the lungs.

If cupping is used for treatment, the pressure in the thoracic cavity will change sharply, causing the pulmonary bullae on the lung surface to rupture, resulting in spontaneous pneumothorax.

It is easy to catch cold after taking a bath after cupping, so it is not suitable to take a bath after cupping.

As an alternative therapy, simple, convenient, fast and effective, economic, cupping has always been popular among Chinese folk. Read more about another popular alternative therapy-moxibustion.

CLICK HERE to learn more about cases by Cupping treatments.

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