What the F*ck is Cupping?

When it comes to cupping, there tend to be a few types of patients.  Those who are obsessed, love it, and can’t get enough.  Those who are afraid, they have seen the odd marks left behind and fear it will be painful.  Those who are impartial.  Then there are those, who don’t just don’t know what the f*ck it is!  If you have heard of cupping, but don’t really don’t know what cupping is and what it is for, then this is for you!

Cupping is an ancient healing modality that has been around for hundreds of years.  Yep, sorry Michael Phelps’s trainer didn’t invent this shit!  Course I will forever bow down to him for making this amazing healing modality famous AF!  

What Does Cupping Treat?

In ancient China, cupping was originally known as the “Horn Method” due to the fact that cattle horns were used.  The cattle horns were first used as a technique to remove poisonous venom from snake bites or drain excess skin disorders.  Eventually the Chinese discovered that the pull (suction) created by the cups was also effective for curing the common cough, and so the essence of the healing modality was born.  Today cupping is preformed with sterile glass and/or plastic cups to treat asthma, allergies, digestive disorders, menstrual disorders, pelvic pain, anxiety, depression, the common cold, muscular skeletal disorders, and so much more!  The technique is generally preformed by acupuncturists, as they learn about the history of the modality and study the many ways it can be effective for a persons healing and wellbeing.  However, since it is very effective for muscle tension and soreness, even physical therapists have started getting in on the action! 

How Does Cupping Work?

The actually treatment is really quite simple.  Glass cupping is the old school style of cupping taught to acupuncturists.  However, they now make clever plastic cups that can attach to a little pump that automatically creates suction.  I personally see no fun in that method (who doesn’t want to play with flaming glass cups?!), so for this post I will just be talking glass cupping!  The mouths of the glass cups are placed on the skin where the area of stagnation or muscle tension is located.  The suction is created by a flame (usually a cotton soaked in alcohol) that is quickly placed inside the glass cups. The flame is quickly swirled inside the glass cup, quickly removed, and the cups are immediately suctioned to the treatment area. Yes, it’s all very very quick! The heat creates a negative pull inside the cup. The negative pull allows the cups to suction onto the patients skin, causing local congestion and leaving behind those oh-so-cool red and purple markings!  

When to Seek a Cupping Treatment

Don’t be fooled by how easy the treatment might seem.  When done appropriately the treatment is extremely effective and also extremely potent!  Cupping is not for everyone.  The patient must be nourished and healthy enough in order to receive a cupping treatment.  If done on the wrong person they could end up getting sick or feel completely fatigued.  The easiest way for me to explain cupping is to note the obvious.  The cups are sucking out and removing what is no longer needed in the body.  If the body isn’t nourished enough to begin with, you could risk draining “the well.”  Make sense?  The healing modality really doesn’t hurt (honest).  Many patients love the intensity of the pull so much that is completely relaxes their nervous system.  They leave feeling completely zen’d out.  Perhaps give it a try for your upcoming seasonal allergies or that chronic tight neck you have been struggling with?  Just make sure practitioner has been properly trained so that you don’t leave the session feeling like you got hit by a mack truck. Trust me! 

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