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What is Cupping Therapy?

October 29, 2010

Cupping therapy, based upon traditional Chinese medicine, has been practiced all over the world for centuries. Cupping can be performed on almost anyone, from child to adult. Early uses of cupping therapy included the treatment of snake bites, boils and chronic coughs. In more modern times, different methods of cupping have been used to treat a vast array of illnesses and injuries.  

Cupping therapy is unique in that it employs the use of “cups” against the flesh. Cups can be made of many materials including glass, plastic, and bamboo. The cup creates a negative pressure when properly placed on the skin which is beneficial in treating illness and injury. Cupping can also be combined with many other modalities for additional therapeutic benefit including massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, physiotherapy, lymphatic drainage, shiatsu, and reflexology.  

There are many types of cupping therapy. Two of the most popular are called Medium cupping and Light-Moving cupping. In Medium cupping the practitioner applies lubricant to the area being treated, and then places the cup on the client’s skin with a medium suction. Suction is acquired in a number of different ways, depending on what type of cup you are using. The skin of the client is pulled into the cup and slight reddening will occur. The therapist leaves the cup on the client’s skin for a short time, usually between 5 and 15 minutes. The cup is removed and can then be applied to another area, if desired. This type of cupping is effective in treating many things, such as deactivation of trigger points, enhancing circulation, and increasing energy flow. In Light-Moving cupping, the application of the cup is the same. However, in this treatment, the therapist moves the cup back and forth (for example, along the spinalis muscles of the spine) to treat and create a reddening of the tissues in a larger area. This type of cupping can be effective in enhancing lymphatic drainage, stimulating circulation and energy flow, and reducing cellulite appearance.  

General effects of cupping therapy on the body include:

Cupping can be a great addition to any massage therapist or bodyworker’s list of services. We have recently added an exceptional course in cupping therapy. Click here to learn more!

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