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Cupping

Cupping

What is Cupping?

  • It is a safe and effective method used in many cultures and by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners in North America
  • It is an ancient Chinese method that uses a cup attached to the skin surface by negative pressure along the affected area.
  • The suction produced will pull the muscle fibers into the cup which subsequently will loosen the muscles and will relieve pain
  • The suction also moves the blood from within the muscle towards the surface of the skin, causing the "ungluing" of the tight and painful muscles
  • By exerting suction from the inside to the outside of the body, cupping works through dispersing and moving Qi (pronounced Chi, also known as Energy)
  • In TCM, it is considered that when we encounter a problem, there is a blockage of Qi along certain channels of the body. This leads to "stagnation" and pressure and cupping helps release these blockages

What is it used for?

  • To increase circulation of blood and lymph vessels
  • To help release toxins accumulated in certain areas due to obstruction or dysfunction

How long is a treatment session?

  • Typically the cups are kept on from 5-15 minutes depending on the severity of the problem and patient's tolerance

What are the benefits of cupping?

  • Relieving increased muscular tonicity
  • Increasing circulation for various musculoskeletal conditions
  • Stimulates local tissues mechanically and thus increases the local tissue metabolism and intensifies the healing response
  • Relieves the pain caused by tight and sore muscles
  • Cupping induces sweating and helps the body to dispel exogenous pathogens
  • It also relieves swelling and pain, stimulates the channels to expel cold, and promotes energy flow and circulation
  • Some studies have shown that cupping stimulates the immune function through suction, by releasing histamine-like substances in the skin

When should cupping NOT be used?

  • High fever
  • Skin conditions
  • Bleed easily
  • If one has concern with temporary skin discolouration as one may experience bruising
  • Circulation problems
  • Pregnancy
  • Hemophilia
  • Lupus
  • Diabetes
  • Sensitive Skin

Research supporting cupping:

Journals including but not limited to the Journal of Pain, Complementary Medicine in Therapists Journal and Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine have published studies showing effectiveness of cupping in the management of pain conditions.

 
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