"Relatively unknown to most people living in the West until recently, cupping therapy is an alternative therapeutic method that has been popular in China since around 1000 B.C. Some records show that variations of cupping practices might actually be much older — possibly dating as far back as 3000 B.C. (1)" Dr AXE
Cupping results in many health benefits that were previously unknown in the west until the RIO Olympics in 2016 when Michael Phelps made his debut covered with purple circular spots across his shoulders and back. Cupping is a choice of many due to the fact that there are no medications involved with unwanted side effects.
There are may benefits to cupping but here I will list just a few:
Cupping may help reduce pain. According to studies performed by Evidenced based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine it was found that cupping significantly reduced pain in people with low back issues, respiratory issues and in some cases, reduced the symptoms of cancer related pain. (2)
Cupping is thought to release tissues deep inside the body, relax tense muscles and ease stiffness associated with chronic back and neck pains, migraines, rheumatism, and fatigue. Some athletes have been known to use cupping therapy to naturally improve performance and reduce stiffness, muscle cramps, joint pains and scar tissue caused by injuries.
Cupping targets soft tissue by applying local pressure to pain points and areas of swelling. As blood flow increases within vessels and capillaries, tissues receive much-needed nutrients and oxygen. Cupping practitioners use pressure, heat, suctioning and needles above or below the site of injury, allowing for energy to travel along the “channels” (meridians).
Cupping and the pulling sensation can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system thereby relaxing the body and releasing stress.
According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, another reason cupping is soothing is because the cups help lift pressure in tense muscles, which offers a relieving sensation just like receiving a deep tissue massage. (3)
Cupping can often result in improved skin conditions
Cupping can often facilitate the breakdown of cellulite, acne and inflammation affecting the skin. While studies haven’t shown it can necessarily help with weight loss, the fact that it tones and firms skin by improving blood flow and expanding capillaries makes it popular among celebrities and people in the spotlight who want to appear to have toned skin. A review of six studies showed that for improving acne, the cure rate of cupping was better than the cure rate following use of tanshinone, tetracyclineand ketoconazole prescriptions. (multiple sources) Helps Treat Respiratory Issues and Colds
Cupping can help improve immune function by moving blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body, which is why it’s been associated with reductions in lung diseases (especially chronic coughs), allergies, infections and asthma. additionally it is known to clear phlegm and congestion in many instances. (5)
Acupuncture and cupping are both popular ways to improve digestion and reduce symptoms from disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This might primarily be because they can lower a patient’s stress response, which is highly tied to healthy digestive functioning. (6)
Throughout history, cupping therapy has been found to be beneficial for people with frequent stomach pains, diarrhea, acute gastritis, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal diseases and water retention. For digestive disturbances, cupping is commonly performed in the following areas: around the navel, over the bladder, around the kidneys or over the stomach. (7)
Is Cupping therapy safe?
Cupping should only be performed with sterile equipment and by licensed and trained professionals- it is often combined with techniques like Traditional Acupuncture which should also be performed by trained and certified practitioners only.
(1) Dr AXE (2)Evidenced based complimentary Medicine (3)Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (4)multiple sources (5-7) Dr AXE