Health Benefits of Traditional Chinese Cupping
When we think of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we usually think of acupuncture or Chinese herbs. There is a lesser known treatment in Chinese medicine that is known as "cupping". It is good for chronic pain relief, adhesions and scar tissue, myofascial release, deep tissue release and many other conditions or issues. It is extremely effective while being a very pleasant experience. In 300 AD a Taoist herbalist named Ge Hong wrote a book called A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies. This is the earliest documented work on Chinese cupping.
Cupping is the name of a technique that uses glass or bamboo cups to create suction on the skin. They are swabbed with rubbing alcohol then a flame is used to rid the cup of air just before being placed on the skin. Another method is to use an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing the empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. Flames are not used near the skin and the patient is never at risk of being burned.
Once the suction is created, the cups are gently moved across the skin in a way that is often called ‘gliding cupping’. The suction from the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be drawn into the cup. This is like the opposite of massage instead of applying pressure to the muscles it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. This is a relaxing and relieving sensation for people. Once the cups are placed they are usually left in place for ten to twenty minutes.
Cupping may be used during your massage therapy treatment and is sometimes used along with acupuncture, but can be a standalone treatment. The pressure and suction from the cups loosens the muscles and encourages blood flow to an area that needs healing. Cupping can be used for back and neck pain, anxiety, fatigue, stiff muscles, rheumatism, migraines and cellulite. When used for weight loss and cellulite, oil is applied to the skin and the cups are moved throughout the surrounding area.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the body is divided into meridians. There are 5 meridians on the back. The cups may be placed on the meridians and the cupping can relax qi, as well as target other specific problems. Cupping on these meridians is done to open the channels along the meridians. These are considered the paths through which the life energy or qi travels to make it smoother and free-flowing. Cupping is a deep tissue therapy and it is considered to be one of the best. Clinicians think it affects tissues as much as four inches deep from the skin. Toxins are released and blockages opened up and veins and arteries can be refreshed. The hands, legs, wrists and ankles can also be cupped.
Another popular reason for cupping can be to clear congestion from the sinuses and lungs during colds and flu. In the earliest Chinese documentation of cupping it was recommended as a therapy to treat tuberculosis.
To read more about how my massage & cupping can help you visit my website at www.CuppingPortland.com or www.DoriWhiteMassageTherapy.com
Dori White - Founder & Owner of Cupping Portland
Dori White - Co-Owner & Founder of Portland Wellness Professionals
This blog was written for Dori White by Herbalist Valerie Lull, MH. To read Valerie’s blog ‘Simple Ways to Stay Healthy’ go to www.vallull.blogspot.com