Cupping is a therapeutic procedure where suction is applied to the body for the purpose of improving health. We find references to cupping in Egyptian carvings (1500 BC), Babylonian cuneiform tablets (700 BC), the writings of Hippocrates (460-377 BC), and in Chinese silk manuscripts (300 BC). Cultures across Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America utilized cupping as an important traditional healing practice.
Cupping in Chinese medicine
In Chinese medicine, we recognize that a major cause of pain and/or disease is a lack of proper circulation. Qi ("chee" energy) and blood circulate through the channels and tissues: if circulation is compromised, qi and blood can stagnate in an area causing pain and dysfunction. Cupping helps to move devitalized qi and blood out-- allowing healthy, nutritive, vital qi and blood to profuse the area.
Myofascial (muscle and fascia) Decompression
Pain and tension can be the result of restricted muscles and/or restricted fascia (among other causes). The negative pressure of the cups, lift and separates the underlying tissues assisting in the release of myofascial restrictions, and reducing pain. Fascia is a web of fibrous connective tissue (primarily collagen) that covers and connects muscles and organs. It’s formed in bands and sheets that wrap all internal parts of the body, holding them together, and allowing them to move freely.
Benefits Of Cupping
Increased local circulation
Improved lymphatic flow
Release of scar tissue adhesion
Release of fascial restrictions
Release of trigger points (in Chinese, known as “Ashi” points-- literally “Ah, yes!”)
Due to the tensile stress caused by negative pressure, cupping often produces marks. These transient therapeutic petechiae (cupping marks) are areas where blood has left the capillaries and leaked into the subcutis (tissues beneath the skin). When this happens, it triggers your body to upregulate gene expression for an enzyme, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). The job of HO-1 is to essentially reclaim the iron from old blood cells to be recycled in the body and turned into new blood cells. HO-1 has been shown to be anti-oxidant, cytoprotectant, and hepatoprotectant. It regulates the immune system and reduces inflammation (which can reduce musculoskeletal pain and benefit inflammatory conditions, such as fever, cough, asthma, inflammatory bowel conditions, and more). This means that cupping can reduce pain, boost your immune system, and support your natural detox systems!
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