Cupping is popular in many Asian countries, including China, Korea and Japan, as well as being used in Arabic nations such as Egypt and Turkey. Cupping has been used for centuries as an alternative treatment method worldwide and was especially popular in Europe during the Renaissance period.
The cupping jars are made from some kind of glass, bamboo, ceramic, or any other material that can be used to create a cup. Cupping involves suctioning the skin using small glass cups, bamboo jars, ceramic jars heated up and placed on the body.
For centuries, cupping has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat pain and illness, such as colds or coughs. Cupping is also used for relaxation and to help the flow of Qi. This is based on the theory that this can help to remove blockages in the flow of blood and energy, therefore improving health. To create the vacuum in cupping therapy, heat is first applied to cups before they’re placed onto the skin surface. The warmed cup does not cause any injury; instead, it creates negative pressure and draws part of the tissue into the cup.
The idea behind cupping therapy is that pain or illness occurs when there are blockages in your meridians pathways, and by removing these blockages, you will be able to achieve balance. It may also be used as a form of relaxation massage during which it’s claimed your muscles begin to relax after about 20 minutes.
Cupping is often combined with acupuncture for best results or may be used alone. There are two types of cupping treatment one is call static cupping, the other call sliding cup.
To treat pain in specific areas of your body, the cups are left on for a short time before being removed; cups placed upon particular acupressure points may remain on for up to 5-10 minutes.
For the sliding cup type of cupping, a glass jar is slid up and down along the meridian or muscle group. As it moves on your body the suction created helps to draw blood and blockages from deep inside the meridian and muscles.
The treatment is usually painless but may cause mild discomfort and marks on the skin which are temporary; these can last for a few days or weeks depending on how severe the conditions and how long the problem has been lingering.
Cupping treatment actually mimics the inflammation process. There are 4 signs for inflammation i.e redness, heat, swelling and pain. After applying static or sliding cupping on the meridian, there will be redness (discolouration), warmth, a bit of swelling and some level of pain.
The redness (discolouration) is caused by a broken capillary vein on the dermis. The broken capillary vein will cause some level of inflammation in the dermis and subcutaneous layers to bring blood from deep inside into the skin closer to the surface. The warmth is caused by fresh blood flowing into your skin layer and close to the surface. Swelling happens because there is more blood flow (platelets, extracellular fluids) from the blood in your uppermost layer to the skin closer to the surface. Pain is caused by inflammation and broken capillary veins.
When the body had inflammation due to injury, the immune system active white blood cells and other proteins to attack the injury. If you increase the inflammation, more white blood cells will come over to help to repair any damaged tissue. By applying cupping therapy, all the above 4 signs happen at once. This activates your immune system and healing process so that you can recover and treat pain or illness faster.
Usually will disappear within 7 days depending on how fast your metabolism is and the severity of this “fake inflammation.” The discolouration is not necessary which means not every cupping session had red or purple. Only when there is blockage/ pain/discomfort along the meridian will allow discolouration happen.
You might be asking why there is discolouration? Imagine the capillary wall is like the elastic band, if we put the elastic band under the sun for a long time, the elastic will become weak so when we place it under pressure the elastic band will break. Same as capillaries, without good blood nourishment, when we place the cupping on the skin the capillaries wall is broken under pressure, thus discolouration happened.
Light red with no dots or patches: is a good sign meaning the treating area has good circulation without blockages.
Dark red with dots or patches: capillaries are broken due to lack of blood supply.
Purple dark red with dots or patches: same reason as the dark red with dots or patches but there’s no blood flow at all. There are not many broken capillaries, which means that this treatment part has been neglected for a long time and has poor circulation so normal blood flow can’t bring enough nutrition into it. This means the area may have some blood flow but has many capillary blockages.
Green discolouration: this usually fades away within 10-15 seconds. This colour indicated the treatment part even the related channel had some dampness accumulations.
Yellow discolouration: usually happen in the last state of the healing process. It implies that you had a good immune response to the cupping treatment which means you had a very active immune system to fight off any possible inflammation. The yellow discolouration will disappear as your body continue to detoxify and heal itself toward the end of the 2-7 days period.
Once the discolouration disappeared, your blood vessels begin to repair and rejuvenate themselves so you can have pain free again. Hence, cupping therapy help improve blood supply and stamina as well as an overall sense of well being.
Before visiting your cupping treatment, please make sure to let your acupuncturist know if you are pregnant or have a weak immune system. Our acupuncturists are specialized in cupping therapy, call us for more info or discuss your conditions
Schedule your appointment today! We look forward to hearing from you!