Cupping therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which cups are placed on the skin to create suction. The cups can be made of a variety of materials, including:
Types of Cupping Therapy
There are various types of cupping therapy, including:
- Dry cupping (suction only)
- Wet cupping (combination of suction and controlled medicinal bleeding)
During both types of cupping, a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper is placed in a cup and set on fire. As the fire goes out, the cup is placed upside down on the patient’s skin.
As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for five to 10 minutes.
A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes practitioners use medical-grade silicone cups. These are pliable enough to be moved from place to place on the skin and produce a massage-like effect.
During wet cupping, a mild suction is created using a cup that is left in place for about three minutes. The practitioner then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make superficial skin incisions. Then he or she performs a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.
After the procedure, the site may be covered with an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. The skin’s appearance generally returns to normal within 10 days.
Cupping therapy supporters believe that cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing and is especially helpful with the following diseases:
- Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia.
- Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
- Fertility and gynecological disorders.
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne.
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- Headache and Migraine.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma.
- Varicose veins.