By Danielle Shones
Traditional Chinese Medicine is rooted in the ancient philosophy of Taoism and dates back more than 2,500 years. TCM is better known for the use of herbs, acupuncture/moxibustion, massage therapy, TuiNa and Tai Chi to treat and even prevent illness. Although Cupping is a lesser-known treatment it is a big part of Oriental Medicine. Cupping is a term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin. Once suction has been established, the cups either sit stationary over a particular point, such as the Shu Points, along the back or may be gently glided along the skin. The suction of the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn upward. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage, rather than applying pressure to a muscle, it uses gentle suction to pull the muscle and surrounding tissue upward. Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can encourage blood flow and promote healing. In addition it will help break adhesions between the skin and underlying connective tissue, allowing for freer moving joints and looser muscles.
§ Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis & fibromyalgia
§ Fertility and gynecological disorders
§ Skin problems such as eczema & acne
§ High blood pressure (hypertension)
§ Anxiety and depression
§ Bronchial congestion caused by allergies or asthma
§ Varicose veins
While cupping is considered reasonably safe especially air cupping, which does not include the risks involved with fire. There are still things to consider before using cupping therapy. Patients with inflamed skin, cases of high fever or patients who bleed easily are not suitable candidates for cupping. In addition pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back. And if you are moving the cup along someone’s skin it should not cross any bony areas such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder blades. The bruises that appear are a result of the skin being drawn up into the cup where the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand; leaving circular marks anywhere a cup was applied. These bruises however are usually painless and disappear within a few days of the treatment. Leaving the clients body feeling looser, detoxed and well on their way to healing.