Everything You Need To Know About Cupping Therapy
If you suffer from a pain condition, you're not alone. Chronic pain impacts over a fifth of the US population or 50 million people. And many of these individuals suffer from treatment-resistant chronic pain.
There is good news, though. Alternative pain management techniques like cupping therapy can help treat pain conditions, even when traditional medications don't work.
Cupping therapy is an alternative medicine treatment that has been around for centuries. During this therapy, a professional applies specialized suction cups to your skin to offer pain relief.
Curious to learn more about the uses of cupping therapy and reasons to try it? Then keep reading this guide because this one is for you!
The History of Cupping Therapy
Cupping therapy has been around since at least 1550 B.C. Multiple different cultures used this technique for the treatment of pain, including in Egypt, China, and the Middle East.
Traditional medicine men of old would start a fire inside a glass or bamboo cup. Once the flames went out, the cupping therapist would place the cup on the patient's skin, creating a vacuum. This is known as dry cupping.
Another form of ancient cupping is called wet cupping. With wet cupping, the therapist made small cuts on the treated skin. They would then repeat the suction cupping to withdraw blood from those cuts.
Today, cupping therapy has come back into popularity as a non-invasive treatment for various pain disorders. Although the technique that cupping therapists use has changed greatly.
How Cupping Therapy Works Today
These days, therapists don't use open flames for dry cupping. Your cupping therapist will use silicone cups and rubber pumps to produce the vacuum effect.
Wet cupping is much less common these days. It has a higher risk of side effects, like an infection. It's also questionable whether wet cupping produces additional benefits compared to much safer dry techniques.
However, today's wet cupping therapists do use an antibiotic on the small cuts to your skin.
Wet and dry cupping aren't the only types of suction therapies. You could also get massage cupping, where the therapist moves around the suction cup to different parts of your body. This technique doesn't require bloodletting.
Needle cupping combines the benefits of acupuncture and suction therapy. This technique is similar to wet cupping in that the therapist applies needles to the skin before using suction.
Manual Cupping Therapy: Does It Really Work?
These days, seeing a cupping therapist isn't the only way to try this technique for pain relief. Brands also sell manual cupping products that allow you to try out the treatment at home.
In fact, some manual cupping products are the same cups used in professional cupping therapy offices. These products are equally as effective as those used at a cupping business and are far more convenient.
More recently, automatic cupping devices have been introduced to the market. These devices usually offer more than just automatic cupping therapy, with many also featuring heat and red light components.
The Benefits of Cupping Therapy
By now, you may be wondering: why use cupping therapy over the dozens of other alternative pain management therapies? Cupping utilizes a completely unique technique offering some amazing benefits. Here are just a few of them.
Eliminate Lower Back and Neck Pain
Scientists aren't 100% sure how cupping therapy works. But a few theories have proposed that the suction cupping and subsequent small cuts encourage blood to flow into the area.
When this happens, the body sends higher volumes of oxygen to the wound. Oxygen is one of the main components in healing, which may be why this technique provides significant pain relief, especially in the back and neck.
Boost Your Immune System
Cupping therapy suction causes cellular changes to the skin. One such change is the increase in responsiveness to an enzyme called HO-1. This enzyme offers anti-inflammatory effects, which can reduce the risk of infection and disease.
Improve Blood Circulation
As we mentioned, cupping therapy improves blood flow, and blood circulation is critical for your health. It's also important for performing your best in the gym or while playing sports.
Blood flow also delivers nutrients around the body. When you have poor circulation, your brain and body cells don't get the nutrients they need. This can result in poor energy and even injury.
Feel More Energized
Nutrients are critical to getting your brain and body the energy it needs. Using cupping therapy can help improve nutrient circulation. That way, you'll feel stronger, have more endurance, and recover from your workout more quickly.
Is Cupping Therapy Safe?
As you can see, there are many reasons to try cupping therapy. Yet, one of the best things about this natural technique is that it comes with little to no side effects.
The only symptoms some patients experience after cupping therapy are scarring, bruising, and infection. Going to a high-quality cupping therapist can help reduce the risk of these complications.
Who Shouldn't Get Cupping Therapy?
Traditional cupping therapy incorporates small cuts to the skin. That means this procedure isn't ideal for people with:
- Bleeding disorders
- Blood clotting disorders
- Seizure disorders
People with skin conditions may also want to avoid cupping therapy. For example, if you're prone to bruising or scarring, you may experience more side effects from cupping treatments.
But the good news is that manual cupping therapy products don't require cuts to the skin. You can simply use your manual cups to massage painful areas and find relief.
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Cupping therapy is a pain management technique that's been around since ancient times. It's non-invasive, side-effect-free, and beneficial for everything from back and neck pain to giving you a pre-workout boost.
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