Cupping developed over time from the original use of hollowed animal horns to drain toxins out of snakebites and skin lesions. Horns evolved into bamboo cups, which were eventually replaced by glass. Therapeutic applications evolved with the refinement of the cup itself, and with the cultures that employed cupping as a health care technique. The true origin of cupping therapy remains in obscurity.
The Chinese expanded the utilisation to include use in surgery to divert blood flow from the surgery site. Cupping eventually developed into a separate therapy, with healers treating a variety of conditions. Early written records date from 28 AD, and a traditional Chinese saying indicates "acupuncture and cupping, more than half the ills cured". Chinese medicine observes that cupping dispels stagnation of Blood and Chi, along with external pathogenic factors that invade a weakened constitution. A depleted constitution is often a result of depleted "Jing Chi", or original essence. This will usually progress to a weakened "Wei Chi", or defence (immune system).
The Egyptians produced a text on ancient medicine that discussed the use of cupping for conditions such as fever, pain, vertigo, menstruation imbalances, weakened appetite and accelerating the "healing crisis" of disease. From the Egyptians, cupping was introduced to the Greeks and eventually spread to ancient cultures in many countries of Europe and even the Americas. In recent history, European and American doctors widely used cupping in practice into the late 1800's. Research papers were written in the 19th century, and a collaborative effort between the former Soviet Union and China confirmed the clinical efficacy of cupping therapy. It became an official therapy to be found in all Chinese hospitals. Breast cupping became common for inflamed breasts and lactation dysfunctions. The familiar breast pump emerged from this. The 20th century brought about a decline in interest as technology and machines came into use. New cupping sets were introduced using pumps to create the vacuum, and these sets were carried by medical supply companies well into the 1940's.
Benefits of Cupping Therapy
Cupping therapy techniques are an incredible addition to massage therapy, physical therapy, facials and body treatments. The action on the nervous system is sedating, and people often descend into a profound state of relaxation. On a deeper therapeutic level, cupping therapy is very beneficial for many conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, congestion, fatigue, chronic headache, fibromyalgia and neuralgia. Body contouring with cupping can eliminate cellulite, and contracted, congested muscle tissue will soften quickly with only a few minutes of massage cupping.
Larger cups are used for the broad areas of the back, and a strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining or circular and stimulating for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue. The skin will turn very red with strong suction, indicating that the circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments and essential oil blends immediately after the cupping will enable the absorption of the product deep into the tissue. The increased local blood supply to the muscles and skin will bring nourishment and allow for toxins to be carried away via the veins. The sensation is truly indescribable! People often describe a deep warmth, and a tingling sensation long after the treatment has ended.
Another profound application of massage cupping therapy is for the treatment of cellulite. The spa industry has many elaborate pieces of equipment to choose from, and massage cupping performs many of the same functions manually. A very light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or "dimpling". The thighs and hip region should be treated prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of product. The temperature of the wrap will be kept lower and more comfortable since circulation and drainage has been stimulated through massage cupping, while solidified deposits have been softened for easier elimination. Successful and enjoyable body sculpting and contouring is possible, with lasting results and many health benefits!
Precautions for Cupping Therapy
Inflamed skin, high fever, patients who bleed easily.