The Benefits of Cupping

Ever since we saw Gwenyth Paltrow on the red carpet with circular bruises down her back Ive been curious about cupping. Now we hear more celebs (and non-celebs) are trying it out, so what is it exactly? Is is beneficial or are there any side effects?

Cupping is a therapy that involves heating the inside or glass or ceramic cups with fire and placing them at specific point on the body’s surface to create a vacuum. As the heat rises in the cups, so will the skin. This suction effect helps pull toxins form the body and increase circulation in specific areas.

‘One of the earliest documentations of cupping can be found in the work titled A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, which was written by a Taoist herbalist by the name of Ge Hong and which dates all the way back to 300 AD. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward… The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. -Pacific College

Cupping therapy follows the same energy meridians in the body as acupressure and acupuncture. Using these points as a health “road map”, your acupuncturist can release and break up any blockages and allow for increases flow of life-force energy called ‘qi.’ For this reason, cupping is commonly combined with an acupuncture session, though it can also be done solo. Considered a deep tissue treatment, cupping can positively effect up to 3 or 4 inches below the skin’s surface. The suction obtained through cupping can loosen tight muscles, regulate proper circulation, detoxify the tissues and relax the nervous system. All of these benefits greatly aid everything from headaches and stiff muscles to anxiety, chronic fatigue, rheumatism and even encourage weight loss or reduction of cellulite.

So the question now is “Can cupping benefit the skin?” Anytime you are increasing healthy circulation, decreasing the build up of toxins and releasing nervous tension, your skin will reap the benefits. Acne, eczema and hyper-pigmentation are all affected by stress, toxic build up, inflammation and poor circulation.

While cupping is considered relatively safe (especially air cupping, which does not include the risk of fire and heat), it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment.- Acupuncture Today

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