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Cupping Therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
Perhaps the foremost reason individuals turn to cupping therapy is to seek relief from joint and muscle pain. This is particularly specific to individuals who face lower back issues. In instances where deep injuries occur within the muscles, internal bleeding, bruises and edema also happen. This can all lead to a stagnation of blood in the affected area.
Cupping therapy is carried out in these cases to stir the non-circulating, old blood and bring it to the skin surface so that free circulation of oxygenated blood may be restored and the associated pain relieved.
Cupping therapy is also used to promote relaxation and has a sedative effect. With the alleviation of physical discomfort and pain, people naturally feel more relaxed and their stress levels lower. In a broader sense this sense of sedation is also seen as a means of protection against anxiety and depression.
Cupping Therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
Our more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.
As the air inside the cup suctions, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 10 minutes.
You might get 3-5 cups in your first session. Or you might just try one to see how it goes. It’s rare to get more than 5-7 cups, the British Cupping Society notes.
Your skin should look normal again within 10 days.
Cupping is fairly safe, as long as you go to a trained health professional. But you could have these side effects in the area where the cups touch your skin:
- Mild discomfort
- Skin infection