There are many alternative therapies out there that you can use to treat various conditions, from massage therapy to acupuncture. One type of therapy that you may want to consider as well is cupping. Despite being considered an “alternative” form of therapy, facial and body cupping has been around for at least two thousand years and is used throughout the world as an effective pain relief treatment.
The History of Cupping
Body cupping has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. The earliest known reference to cupping is from the Huang Di Nei Jing (also commonly referred to as the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), which was said to have been written by Emperor Huangdi around the third century BC. In this text, body cupping is described as a way to improve circulation and remove toxins from the body.
In more recent times, cupping has been used to treat a variety of conditions such as pain, inflammation, asthma, and digestive issues. It has also been used in sports medicine to help improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. And thanks to its many benefits, body cupping is becoming increasingly popular in the western world.
What is Facial and Body Cupping?
Cupping is a form of therapy that uses cups to create suction on the skin. The suction was traditionally created by placing a flammable substance in the cups, such as paper or alcohol. The substance was then lit on fire. Once the fire was put out, the cup was placed upside down on the patient’s skin.
The cups, which were typically made out of glass, silicone, bamboo, or earthenware, were placed on the body in specific patterns and left in place for a period of time. As the air trapped inside the cup cooled, it resulted in a vacuum, which caused suction on the skin.
These days, a rubber pump is used to create a vacuum instead of lighting a fire inside the cup. Other than that, the process is pretty similar. There are two main types of cupping therapies: dry and wet.
- Dry Cupping: Dry cupping is the most common type of body cupping. In this method, the cups are placed on the skin and then left to create a vacuum.
- Wet Cupping: Wet cupping involves removing the cups after slight suction has been created and making very minor cuts into the skin. The cups are then replaced, causing a small amount of blood to be drawn out as a result of the suction. Wet cupping is much less common, especially in the U.S.
What are the Benefits of Cupping?
The primary purpose of facial and body cupping is to pull blood and fluid that has become stuck to the surface layer of your dermis so that it can be recycled back into your bloodstream. With that in mind, the following are some of the resulting benefits of cupping:
- Improve blood flow and circulation
- Provide chronic and acute pain relief
- Detoxify the body
- Improve respiratory function
- Improve digestion
- Treat skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis
What To Expect From Cupping Therapy
If you’re considering facial or body cupping therapy, here is what you can expect:
- The therapist will cleanse the area of treatment and may apply a topical oil or cream
- They will then place the cups onto your skin and use a pump to create suction
- You may feel a pulling sensation as the cups suck onto your skin
- Some people find the sensation uncomfortable, but most people report that it is relaxing and soothing
- You may experience some mild bruising after treatment, but this will fade within a few days