Traditional Chinese medicine brings to mind acupuncture and the use of natural herbs as healing remedies. Cupping is a lesser-known treatment that is also part of Oriental medicine, one that can provide an especially pleasant experience. One of the earliest documentations of cupping can be found in the work titled A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, which was written by a Taoist herbalist by the name of Ge Hong and which dates all the way back to 300 AD.
A cotton ball is lit with alcohol and rubbed inside the cup to create a suction
The cup is placed immediately on the skin
It is left on for about 10 minutes whilst the patient relaxes
Effects of cupping
Please note: Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping, but rather are a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the small cups.
Cupping is much like the inverse of massage - rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes. This is similar to the practice of Tui Na, a traditional Chinese medicine massage technique that targets acupuncture points as well as painful body parts, and is well known to provide relief through pressure.
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 loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, and rheumatism.
Cupping is especially effective for people who do sports as it relaxes the muscles before a game and helps to alleviate pain after intense exercise.
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