Cupping is a unique therapy that is widely used by many different practitioners today. It is a therapy in which a jar (cup) is attached to the skin surface, which in turn pulls on the tissue underneath it. Some practitioners may only use cupping as a soft tissue therapy to relieve pain. Acupuncturists have been trained in the many different uses of cupping.
Types of Cups: We use two types of jars (cups). A glass cup, which is transparent so you can see the level of local congestion you are causing and control treatment accordingly, or a plastic cup which is also transparent. Other types of cups that may be used are made of bamboo, or other substances (animal horns were used as cups in ancient times).
Methods: At True Health & Wellness we use two techniques when cupping therapy is performed.
Fire Cupping: This method is used with glass jars to create a negative pressure and adhere the jar to the skin. The cups can be left in one spot (over acupuncture points), moved along acupuncture meridians, or quickly adhered to the skin & removed repeatedly. This method usually lasts 5 minutes and no longer than 15 minutes. The fire used creates a warming function during the cupping therapy. Fire cupping may be used by an acupuncturist for tight, sore, or cold muscles. This method may also be used to help with symptoms of cold/flu, coughing, wheezing, muscle sprain/strains, fibromyalgia, and more!
Stationary Cupping: Plastic jars are used with a pump, which creates a negative pressure to adhere the cup to the skin. This method is used when many areas are being targeted at once, when areas like the knee/shoulder are involved, or when a warming function is not required. This method can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes or as needed.
Indications: The cupping therapy has a function of warming and promoting the free flow of qi and blood in the meridians, which is why it is a great therapy for soft tissue issues (sprains/strains). Cupping therapy can also be used for dispelling dampness, and diminishing swelling and pain. It can be used to treat symptoms of pain in the low back, shoulders, and legs. It is also used for gastrointestinal disorders including stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cupping can also be applied to cases of lung disease with symptoms of coughing and asthma.
Precautions: Cupping is not used on patients with certain pre-existing conditions (edema, ulcers, high fevers, or pregnant women). There will be a bruise in the area where the therapy was done which may last several days. Sometimes small blisters may occur. Be sure to see a licensed acupuncturist to get the most out of your cupping therapy!
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Remember that this information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.