There are various forms of alternative medicine, these treatments are historic and have been practised for thousands of years.
Cupping is one of these practices and although there is controversy over the benefits it poses, it continues to be a well-sought-after treatment that a lot of massage therapists or other therapists provide for their clients
What is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping therapy is a form of complementary treatment that involves placing special cups on the skin which creates suction.
These cups can be used in various ways, traditionally they were heated up to provide suction but the modern approach is to use pumps on the cups instead or just use rubber suction cups.
There are also different types of cupping therapy such as wet cupping and dry cupping.
The benefits of cupping therapy include pain relief, improved circulation and better 'energy channels'. It's also used to improve mobility or provide more beneficial massages.
Cupping therapy is usually offered as an optional therapy provided by massage therapists or other therapists trained in alternative treatments.
What is the difference between Dry Cupping and Wet Cupping?
Dry cupping is pretty straightforward, it involves making use of suction by applying the cups for a few minutes at a time.
On the other hand, wet cupping is a bit more advanced as it involves making a cut in the skin before cupping.
This is to draw blood and one study supports the benefits of this benefit, finding that it helped improve kidney function which helps the kidneys clear toxins such as heavy metals from the body.
What is cupping used for?
- Breaks up scar tissue adhesions and promotes myofascial release
- Cupping has been proven to be effective for Acne in recent studies and the British Cupping Association claims it helps with Eczema as well
- Decreases toxins in the skin
Cupping is used for pain relief so it is used to treat the following:
- Neck pain, Back pain, Knee pain and Shoulder pain
- Carpal Tunnel syndrome
- High Blood pressure
- Headaches and migraines
- Arthritis and fibromyalgia
What are the dangers of cupping?
Although Cupping can pose numerous benefits, there are also a few dangers that you need to be wary of due to the nature of cupping therapy and the fact that some people seeking cupping therapy have sensitive skin.
Two of the dangers are ironically scarring and worsening eczema. These are more of concern with wet cupping or traditional cupping therapy that uses heat.
There are other dangers to the skin with some rare cases of Keloids caused by wet cupping. Other side effects of cupping could include burns, infections and skin damage after repeated treatments.
Usually, when you’re done with cupping, the area is cleansed and a bandage may be applied to help prevent infections.
What do I need for Cupping Therapy?
If you are planning on using the modern approach of just using suction cups, then a cupping set is all you'll need to provide treatments; besides the usual treatment essentials of course.
How do I do self-cupping?
N.B. You should always seek qualified medical guidance if you believe you have developed a medical condition/injury.
Here's an example of how to do self-cupping on your lower legs. This is particularly helpful for athletes or people who do a lot of running, walking or standing.
This is a cupping set that contains 10 cups and a vacuum pump for creating suction.
The set comes with cups of different sizes; 3cm, 3.5cm, 4cm, 4.5cm and 5cm which allows you to provide more varied treatments or reach different areas.
The pump allows you to control how much suction you'd like to use for the treatment and also makes applying the cups a lot easier and more effective.
Rock Pods are a cupping set that comes with 8 pods of two different sizes, small and large.
You can use them on a wide range of body parts due to how easily they can be applied and the two different sizes of cups.
This set will help you advance as a therapist and give you unlimited possibilities as it will become easy to manipulate fascia anywhere on the body as well as treat pain, mobility and movement dysfunctions
This cupping set has 4 different cups of varying sizes, they are made from silicone and like the previous cupping set, they make use of suction and are applied by using pressure and creating a vacuum.
The silicone makes them flexible yet durable and their convenient size and shape make them a great option for simple and fast cupping therapy treatments.
This cupping set has 6 different cups, there are different sizes of cups; the set contains 1 cup of each diameter: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7cm.
The cups are even magnetic with North / South polarised probes which means you can use them for magnetic therapy as well as cupping therapy.
As the image shows, they are pump suction cups so they come with the necessary pump for applying the cups to the skin.
Sources and References
Kim, S., Lee, S.H., Kim, M.R., Kim, E.J., Hwang, D.S., Lee, J., Shin, J.S., Ha, I.H. and Lee, Y.J., 2018. Is cupping therapy effective in patients with neck pain? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ open, 8(11), p.e021070.
Science Direct - Cupping Therapy Overview