Cupping is a type of alternative medicine that uses cups placed on the skin of patients to create suction. The cups themselves can be made from different materials including earthenware, bamboo, and glass. It is believed that this type of therapy boosts blood circulation, which promotes the healing of many illnesses and ailments.
This type of medical treatment goes back to ancient Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Egyptian cultures. One of the first mentioning of the practice can be found dated as far back as 1,550 BC in the Ebers Papyrus.
Today, there are still skeptics stating that there is no scientific evidence that this method actually cures any disease. However, in a recent study, cupping was used along with other treatments in a controlled setting with results showing that users that included cupping in their therapy saw improvements with acne, herpes zoster, cervical spondylosis, and facial paralysis. Of course, more research is needed to learn the true benefits of cupping.
There are different types of cupping therapy which include dry cupping wet cupping. In both types of therapy, herbs, alcohol, or paper are placed inside the cup and set on fire. As the fire slowly diminishes in intensity, the cup is then placed upside on the skin. The air inside the cup is burned away, generating a vaccuum that in turns creates suction. This suction will cause the skin to raise and turn red as the vessels that carry blood start to expand. The cup will be left on the patient’s skin between five and ten minutes.
Wet cupping is similar, but the cup is only left on the skin for around three minutes, and once removed, the practitioner will then cut extremely tiny incisions on the skin. Suction will begin to draw out droplets of the blood. With this method, it will take around ten days for the appearance of the skin to return to normal.
The benefits of cupping therapy according to the British Cupping Society include the treatment of such ailments and diseases as blood disorders like anemia and hemophilia, rheumatic ailments like fibromyalgia and arthritis, gynecological problems, fertility, eczema, acne, high blood pressure, anxiety, migraines, depression, varicose veins, allergies, asthma, and other bronchial congestion issues. Some even go as far as stating that cupping can aid in decreasing inflammation and pain throughout the body. Some patients that have experienced cupping state that it gives them a sense of relaxation as well as well being.
There are a few minor side effects associated with cupping which include a bit of discomfort, bruising, burns, and in rare cases, skin infections.
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