Should you suffer from muscle tension triggering back pain and headaches? Once the body undergoes stress, whether it’s from physical exercise or a frenetic week at work, our muscles tie in ‘knots’ and these tight spots in our bodies can cause pain. Massage is a common way of treating sore muscles, but an even older treatment is back in vogue lately.
Cupping is an ancient alternative treatment, where heated cups are placed on the skin. It forms a vacuum within the cup as the air cools and produces suction that pulls up the skin. This pulling relieves tension in the muscles that underlie it. It is often assumed that impurities are brought closer to the surface in the body, so that increased blood circulation will get them out of the system.
Although cupping is credited to the Chinese Taoist Ge Hong (281-341 A.D.), there is evidence that practitioners used the technique much earlier in the Middle East. Dating back to 1 550 B.C., Ebers Papyrus is one of the world’s oldest scientific textbooks. The book portrays the Egyptians of the time using cupping as a therapy for a variety of disorders.
Cupping Can Relieve Pain and Common Ailments
An article in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2015 said, you might use cupping to relieve pain and treat acne, facial paralysis, herpes zoster and cervical spondylosis symptoms. Cervical spondylosis is best known as the age-related wear and tear of your neck’s spinal discs, and is popular among older people.
Cupping is helpful in relieving tension and pain in overworked muscles and improving your motion range. When using cupping in conjunction with conventional medicine, it can help you recover sooner from an injury, and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory drugs. Most people who try cupping say their musculoskeletal discomfort gradually decreases, and the effects of cupping continue long after the procedure is done.
Improved blood supply from cupping ensures that the procedure will also support the heart, softening the effects of deep-seated conditions. Cupping is used in chinese medicine to treat lung irritation and digestive disorders.
It is widely believed that cupping draws toxins from the blood and benefits people suffering from chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure.
You Can Experience the Benefits at Home
Athletes go to a cupping therapist but, you can try it safely at home. Even our ancestors used cupping as a home remedy long before the stars hopped on the bandwagon.
To use cupping as an affordable alternative treatment, you will need a few simple tools and a basic understanding of the technique, so you can reduce the need for pain medication and live a healthier life.
What Tools Do You Need?
Cupping is a cheap treatment, as the name implies, you’ll need just a few cups, and you can use them regularly. You can use cups made from a variety of materials such as glass, earthenware, bamboo, or silicone, but they have to have a smooth rim to make sure they can create suction, and it is preferable to use easily sterilizable cups.
Cups are commonly round or bell-shaped. With a cupping treatment, there is no fixed number of cups, you can use any amount from one upward, but three to seven cups are common, and you can use as many as you need for the area you want to nurse. When you first do cupping it is best to start with just a few cups and test the reaction of your body.
How does a Cupping Treatment Work?
Traditionally, you would light combustible material in the cup to heat the air, then quickly invert the cup over the treatment area and allow the cooling air inside to create a vacuum. You can buy a glass or silicone cupping package these days with a suction system attached to it. If you are using a commercial cupping kit, simply place the cup where you want it to be attached and draw the air out of the cup.
If you are fitting the cups with hot air or a pump, the suction pulls the skin and the underlying fascia up into the cup, forming a bulge. Popular areas where the cups are attached include the back, arms, and abdomen.
After the cups are attached to your skin, you can keep them in place for three to fifteen minutes or push them gently across your body, taking care not to break the seal for suction. The force inside the cups from the vacuum is not painful.
As your body gets accustomed to the initial pressure sensation, you can feel the stress relaxing in your muscles as the tissue is raised and loosened by the suction in the cup. Simply slip a finger under the cup rim to release the vacuum when you’re ready to remove these.
You can perform the cupping procedure as much as you want, but practicers recommend that you stick to a schedule and do it once a week for better results.
What are the Side Effects of Cupping?
There will be telltale red, discolored spots on your skin right after you remove the cups. They will usually vanish in a few hours, but it is not rare to have bruises that last up to ten days. Many side effects may include skin infection, moderate treatment area discomfort, and overheated cup burns.
Always sterilize your cups before you use them to avoid a skin complaint. Check the temperature before applying the cups to your skin if you use the heat method.
Never add cups to inflamed skin, sunburning areas or open wounds. For those who have hemophilia or are taking blood thinning medicine, cupping is not advised.
Health care practitioners and researchers are actively rediscovering the benefits of traditional treatments. As a non-invasive alternative treatment, cupping is safe to try for pain relief at home, to help relax your muscles, and to treat a variety of illnesses that will help you live a healthier life.