What can cupping do?

 What can cupping do?

Cupping is one of the oldest forms of therapy. The aim is to provide the skin and the tissue underneath with intensive blood circulation, to remove waste products and to stimulate healing processes in the organs that correspond to the treated skin zones. Cupping is done with small glass suction bells that create a negative pressure on the skin. Cupping is a stimulus therapy that is supposed to dissolve blockages and activate self-healing powers. Here you can find out what happens during cupping, what forms there are, how cupping works, what it is used for, whether you can cup it yourself, when you shouldn't be cupping, what it costs and who offers cupping.

What is cupping?

Cupping has been used in all ancient medicine cultures. The elimination procedure is best known today in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). But also in Indian Ayurveda, in ancient Egypt and Greece up to shamanism, the blood circulation-promoting and reflexology-effective method of cupping was used. The explanatory models for effectiveness differ. However, everyone agrees that the intensive blood circulation stimulates the lymph flow and metabolism. This is used in naturopathy and today also in cosmetics.

Cupping is used by alternative practitioners and naturopathic doctors to relieve pain, tension and slagging and as an impulse for self-healing. For cosmetic purposes such as against cellulite or for slight tension, dry cupping can also be done at the beautician's or independently at home.

What cupping methods are there?

With dry cupping, suction bells made of glass, so-called cupping heads, are placed on the skin. A vacuum is created by briefly heating the inside of the cup before putting on, whereby the oxygen burns, or by sucking the air out of the glass with a vacuum pump after putting on. The negative pressure causes skin and tissue to be drawn towards the cupping glass.

The result is the formation of hematomas.2 Dry cupping is used for empty or cold geloses (hardening). They can be felt as a dent, sultry (gelatinous) skin area or cold induration. The restricted blood supply is stimulated again by the dry cupping. The cupping heads remain on the skin until a red-bluish color, i.e. has developed a bruise.

In the case of bloody cupping, the skin is disinfected and lightly scratched before the therapist places the cupping head on the skin. The negative pressure causes some blood to come out of the small wounds. The region is decongested and pollutants can escape with the blood. Bloody cupping is said to thin the blood like a small bloodletting and improve its flow properties.2 Bloody cupping treats hot or fullness geloses that can be felt as painful indurations.

They are the result of a dysregulation of the blood flow to the body surface with an increase in tissue fluid. The outflow of venous blood is obstructed. Metabolic waste products accumulate. The supply of arterial blood is unhindered, so that there is an abundance of blood. Bloody cupping sucks the fullness of blood and the excess tissue fluid with the waste products out of the gelose. The cupping head has to be changed until no more blood flows in.

What are proven areas of application for cupping?

Cupping helps relieve muscle tension, headaches and migraines. One study showed that after 3 months of treatment, migraines improved in 66% of the test persons and that the migraine occurred 12.6 days per month less than in the comparison group without cupping.4 According to studies, back-5 and neck pain6 are also caused by cupping alleviated and the quality of life is improved. Another study proves its effectiveness against herpes zoster (shingles), facial paralysis, acne and spondylosis (degenerative change) of the cervical spine. 7

Cupping is also recommended as a natural support for high blood pressure, lumbago, liver, gallbladder and lung diseases as well as lack of drive and energy.3 Carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve pain, asthma, knee osteoarthritis, indigestion, menopausal symptoms and depressive moods are further areas of application.

Where on the body can you cup?

In naturopathy, preference is given to cupping on the reflex zones and acupuncture points of the back. But there is also the option of using cupping for cosmetic purposes to stimulate blood circulation and metabolism, e.g. to treat cellulite. It should also be possible to cup the face with great sensitivity, which can reduce wrinkles and tighten the skin.1 Cosmetic cupping is offered by some cosmetic studios.

How do I cup correctly?

Cupping, especially bloody cupping, is learned by doctors and alternative practitioners in specialist training for medicinal purposes and carried out under strict hygienic conditions. For cosmetic purposes and with slight tension, cupping massage and dry cupping should also be able to be performed by laypeople. You can find an insight into these procedures here.8 A small medicine cabinet on how to use cupping is available here.9 As a precaution, it is advisable for laypeople to consult a doctor before use.

What side effects are possible with cupping?

A desirable side effect is hematoma, i. bruises, which can usually be seen several days after cupping.1 Bloody cupping can lead to circulatory weakness, scarring and improper handling of the incision can lead to disruption of the acupuncture meridians.

When should you avoid cupping?

In the event of acute injuries, inflammations or allergic changes to the skin, it is not allowed to fleece. Cupping is also not indicated in people who take blood thinners or who have an increased tendency to bleed. Serious skin diseases, generalized edema and skin changes after cortisone treatment speak against cupping treatment. Cupping should also be avoided after radiation therapy and during pregnancy

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