In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping is an ancient therapy that involves placing round glass cups on skin points, creating a pressure by heat or suction.
The idea of cupping therapy is to strengthen the immune system and allow the smooth circulation of blood by restoring the flow of energy known as ‘Qi’ or ‘Yin and Yang’.
Cup sites are chosen according to the patient’s symptoms and the number of cups used will vary depending on the patient’s condition and the cup size.
Cupping may help to:
- Soothe the symptoms of coughs and cold
- Assist the relief of muscular tension and pain in the body
- Assist in the treatment of sports injuries
- Ease lower back pain
- Relieve stress
Does cupping hurt?
Generally, the main sensation caused is one of tightness, pressure, slight discomfort and warmth, caused by the feeling of the skin being sucked upwards into a cup. Every individual has a different experience, where some may find it painful while others do not.
Is cupping safe?
Cupping therapy is relatively safe with infrequent and rare reports of adverse events. Most adverse events relate to scar formations and burns and others include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, skin infection, pain at cupping site. Though the associated side effects may be prevented by giving appropriate precautions and guidelines to patients, as well as the practice of maintaining clean and sterilised cups.
Generally, cupping therapy is not to be performed directly on veins, nerves, open wounds, bone fractures or skin inflammation. It does not treat internal organ disorders. It is absolutely prohibited on cancer patients, those with organ failures (renal failure, hepatic failure and heart failure) and who suffer from haemophilia or similar conditions. Cupping therapy may not be performed on patients with acute infection, severe chronic disease, anemia, recent blood donation and who are pregnant and during their menstruation and puerperium period.