There are many cupping benefits, ranging from relaxation and improved well-being to pain relief. The skin is the body’s largest organ, reflecting imbalances. It stands to reason therefore that therapies that target the skin reap great rewards.
The following list of cupping benefits is not exhaustive, but highlights how the therapy can affect you both physically and mentally.
Improved flow of energy
In traditional Chinese medicine the flow of energy (or qi) is very important. When blockages occur, it is believed that illness and pain follow. This is why many techniques used in Chinese medicine focus on freeing up energy.
The meridian system is a network of energy channels, each linking to various body parts. Cupping therapy works within this system, with many therapists placing cups on meridian points. Therapists believe by encouraging a good flow of qi, the body becomes more able to heal itself naturally.
The body naturally flushes out toxins we accumulate. This normally happens through the lymph fluids. Cupping is thought to aid this process as it stimulates blood and lymph flow. Increasing the supply of healthy, oxygenated blood to muscles and skin brings nourishment and allows toxins to be carried away by the lymph.
Helps to relieve pain
As this therapy has a similar effect on the muscles as a massage does, it can be useful for relieving muscular pain. This is because it loosens tissues and promotes healing. For those who suffer from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, cupping therapy can be especially beneficial when used alongside medication and physical therapy.
Eases tense muscles
Tense muscles can have a multitude of side effects. These can range from headaches and stress to neck and back pain. Cupping works to soften underlying muscle tissues and break up knotted areas. This leads to looser and more flexible muscles.
When your body is free from tension, you may find it easier for your mind to follow suit.
One of the best-known cupping benefits is relaxation. The sensation is akin to a massage (especially in moving cupping), making it pleasurable and incredibly relaxing. Many people report a warm tingling sensation that lasts long after the treatment ends.
The therapy also has a sedating effect on the nervous system. This makes it useful when addressing conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and tension headaches.
Some therapists use the therapy in a more cosmetic nature. For example, many say one of the key cupping benefits is its ability to reduce cellulite. The theory behind this is that the suction provides drainage and boosts circulation, which loosens adhesions or ‘dimples’.
Who can have it?
When carried out by a qualified professional, cupping therapy should carry little to no risk. However, it is advised that the following groups of people avoid it:
- those who bleed easily and/or cannot stop bleeding
- pregnant women
- menstruating women
- those with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another)
- those with muscle spasms or bone fractures.
In addition to this, the therapy should not be carried out on sites of the body that have the following:
- an ulcer
- an artery
- deep vein thrombosis
- a pulse that can be felt.
You are advised to consult your doctor before trying any new complementary therapy. They will be able to advise you on which therapies are suitable (or unsuitable) for you. You should also tell your therapist if you are concerned about any of the above.
As cupping therapy can involve hot surfaces, skin manipulation and (in wet cupping) incisions, you should always check your therapist has had the appropriate level of training. You may wish to see their qualifications and/or their registration with a professional body for peace of mind.