About

Cupping Therapy

What is Cupping Therapy?

It is an ancient form of medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on the skin for about 10 minutes with suction.

People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammationblood flow, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

The cups may be made of:  

Glass
Bamboo
Earthenware
Silicone

Cupping dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.

Types

There are different methods of cupping, including:

  • Dry
  • Wet

During both types of cupping, your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he puts the cup upside down on your skin.

As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 10 minutes.

A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.

Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for about 5 minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.

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