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What is Cupping Therapy, Anyway (And What Are the Top 4 Benefits it Provides)?

Aug 3, 2022

It may sound odd, and it may look even stranger, but cupping therapy has helped countless people achieve relief from numerous conditions, including chronic pain, inflammation, stress, and anxiety. It is also commonly used as a form of deep tissue massage.

Cupping therapy – also known as Ba Guan – is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine, and dates back even further, with some of the earliest descriptions hailing from Egypt circa 1550 B.C.

During the treatment, multiple cups – which, depending on the practitioner, can be made of glass, silicone, bamboo, or clay – are placed on various pressure points or meridians on the body. Here, a vacuum is created, drawing the skin and tissue into the cup. The resulting suction helps to increase blood and lymphatic circulation while drawing toxins out of the body and ultimately relieving pain.

Acupuncturists often recommend cupping for shoulder, back, or neck pain, migraines, sinus pain and pressure, stress, and injuries to the arm, hamstring, or quadriceps.

Initially, cupping therapy may cause mild bruising. In fact, the U.S. was introduced to cupping therapy at large during the 2016 Summer Olympics, when swimmers who had pushed themselves to the limits were filmed with round bruises on their backs as a result of the treatment.

When pain has become chronic in a certain area, your body has already attempted many times to decrease this inflammation. One of the byproducts of this healing process is cellular detritus, in which interstitial tissue becomes clogged with cellular waste. Microcirculation is jeopardized, causing more pain.

During therapy, cups are placed over the area of inflammation, which helps your body recognize that cellular waste. It gets pulled to the top of your skin (which can look like a bruise) where your body can recognize it as waste, break it down, and remove it. A flow of microcirculation results – and where there is free flow there is no pain.

Patients are often surprised to find that after a few cupping sessions they no longer have any marks or bruises at all, as we have “emptied the cup” of all the stagnation from years of inflammation.

While studies are still ongoing regarding the science of cupping, many patients have claimed they have experienced several benefits from treatment.

  1. It relieves stress. Cupping therapy triggers the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for deep relaxation throughout the body. Your heart rate slows, digestion improves, and you begin to feel less anxious overall.
  2. It reduces scarring. Cupping therapy impacts lymphatic circulation and mitigates excess fluid, which helps to minimize stretch marks and scarring. Not only that, but patients have also experienced an improvement in areas of the body far from the site of treatment.
  3. It battles bulging veins: Varicose veins and spider veins occur as a result of malfunctioning valves within the veins. Cupping therapy redirects improved blood flow and oxygen to these areas, drastically improving color and comfort.
  4. It improves digestion. As mentioned, cupping therapy enhances digestive system functionality, which can help to move food through your stomach and fluid through your organs more efficiently. It has been shown to aid in colon blockage and indigestion relief, as well.

Resilient Health Acupuncture offers cupping therapy that can assist your body in eliminating myriad discomforts and chronic pain. Questions? Give our team a call at 443-353-5990 or schedule your appointment today.