Cupping Therapy

What is cupping? Cupping was used in China for thousands of years. The method was used primarily to withdraw pus and blood in the treatment of boils. Cattle horn was used in early years for cupping therapy. The Qing dynasty introduced the use of bamboo, ceramic and glass cups for cupping. The modern cupping instruments, which are used in United States clinics, are glass, plastic and rubber cups. Occasionally, bamboo cups are used. 

Cupping is a simple method of suction or negative pressure that pulls "stuck," stagnant, and congealed blood and fluids out of the injured area. Plastic or glass cups are placed on the skin and then applied using suction. Cups are kept on from five to 30 minutes, according to the judgment of the acupuncturist. Cupping releases tight, painful muscles and increases blood circulation. 

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Cupping therapy can also be used to treat pain, Bi syndromes, such as low back pain, shoulder pain, leg pain caused by wind dampness, digestive problems, and even respiration problems. Cupping therapy has been used for cosmetic purposes such as broken veins, breast enhancement and cellulite. I regularly use cupping in the clinic for stress reduction, muscle pain and tightness in the upper and lower body. Patients are always saying how wonderful cupping feels and how relaxed they feel after their treatment.

Helping Veterans' Pain 

We have been using cupping therapy in the NUHS Whole Health Center PTSD Clinic in Lombard. Many of the veterans' bodies have been bruised and battered. They live with constant physical pain. They find cupping as one of the many therapeutic therapies to help with pain management and stress reduction for PTSD.

Cupping therapy has precautions and contradictions. As a result of performing cupping, red or purple circle will often be produced on the skin, or you may even see black circle that may take a few days to heal. These circles are only dark colored in the area cupped and may result in bruising. Since cupping marks take a few days to heal, please consider if you are going to the beach or to an event where you will be revealing the cupped area.

Cupping is not advisable or recommended if you are pregnant, have a circulation disorder, hemophilia, lupus, or diabetes, sunburns, wounds, skin ulcers, edema, high fever, hemorrhages, and are using anticoagulant drugs. Cupping is also not recommended for children under the age of seven.

Remember cupping helps to release tight muscles, increase blood circulation, relieve stress, move congealed body fluids, however bruising and bleeding may sometimes occur.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Ask about cupping therapy next time you make your next appointment in the Lombard clinic. Have a stress free week!