What Is Cupping Therapy? Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More
What is cupping therapy?
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
What are cups made of for cupping therapy?
The cups used in cupping therapy may be made of:
How old is cupping therapy?
Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
How is cupping therapy done?
During cupping therapy, your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he puts the cup upside down on your skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes. Another version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup.
How many cups do you use in cupping therapy?
You might get 3-5 cups in your first session. Or you might just try one to see how it goes.
What are the side effects of cupping therapy?
Cupping is fairly safe, as long as you go to a trained health professional. But you could have these side effects in the area where the cups touch your skin:
- Mild discomfort
- Skin infection
What should you ask your doctor before cupping therapy?
Talk with your doctor before you start cupping or any other type of alternative or complementary medicine. And talk extensively with your cupping therapist, too, before you try it. Ask:
- What conditions do they use cupping for?
- What is your training?
- What is your experience in using it?
- Am I already getting the standard treatments for my condition?
- Are there reasons I should not get cupping?