So what is cupping therapy? Many more people know a bit about cupping therapy then they used to long ago. This is an ancient form of therapy dating back as far back as 1550 B.C. Some call it alternative medicine but those of us that use it prefer to call it therapy just like any other. The word “alternative” for some can flag it as unusual or something that really just doesn’t work. This is simply not the case with cupping. Depending on your problem, therapies like cupping can work just as well as more modern medical styles of PT.
Cupping therapy, believe it or not, is trending because it really can work when applied correctly and when it’s done by a trained professional. The key is knowing when to use something. We pride ourselves on knowing, after a complete patient evaluation, what therapies to use on our clients. We want healing for them and relief from their physical issues.
Cups are generally made from a variety of materials such as glass, silicone, bamboo or even clay/earthenware. It can be done wet or dry. 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 3 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 3 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. You might get 3-5 cups in your first session. Or you might just try one to see how it goes. It’s rare to get more than 5-7 cups, the British Cupping Society notes. Afterward, you may get an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. Your skin should look normal again within 10 days. Cupping therapy supporters believe that wet cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing, but while that’s not proven, the many other benefits are clear.
Some people also get “needle cupping,” in which the therapist first inserts acupuncture needles and then puts cups over them. As you can see, there are many techniques in cupping and a variety of issues can be addressed using this ancient therapy.
Just to name a few things it can help with:
Want to try it out? Have an evaluation as to how it may help you? Contact Integrative Physical Therapy here and schedule an appointment.