An Introduction To Cupping Therapy
Cupping is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy where inverted plastic or glass cups are applied to the acupuncture points on the body.
Imagine a Singapore MRT map.
The lines represent the meridians, the stations represent acupuncture points and the moving trains represent Qi (energy) . The trains and stations must be functional without any signalling problems in order to maintain a smooth ride. Similarly, in the body, Qi has to run smoothly for good health.
Cupping can affect the body’s deep into the tissues to:
• Release toxins (metabolic waste products)
• Activate the lymphatic system
• Invigorate blood circulation in the veins, arteries and capillaries
• Improve the appearance of varicose veins
• Repair deep injured tissues
• Promote healing process via increased local tissue metabolism
What Are The Types Of Cupping?
At Aimin Acupuncture, we mainly use stationary cupping using glass cups and fire.
The cups are usually left on the body for about 10 minutes (maximum 15 minutes).
If your skin is more sensitive, the cups are placed for 5 minutes.
Oil is applied onto the body and the cups are pushed gently along meridians for about 10-15 minutes.
This technique can cover a larger area more quickly hence it is used on areas such as the back and thigh areas.
This technique involves creating a suction effect by putting a lighted cotton ball in the cup.
It is believed that the heat helps extract dampness from the body.
For stronger effects, an acupuncture needle is inserted into an acupoint and the cup is placed on top of it.
This is a bloodletting cupping.
Multiple pricks are made in specific areas of the body using a specialized lancet needling device followed by stationary cupping on the point.
How Is Cupping Done?
During cupping treatment at Aimin Acupuncture, we mainly use stationary glass cupping with fire. A small cotton fire soaked in alcohol is lit up, inserted into the cup for 1-2 seconds and quickly removed and cups are swiftly placed onto the body.
You will feel a slightly tight sensation and a suction around the cupped area. These cups are left for about 10 minutes only.
Who Can Do Cupping?
Cupping is suitable for most patients except those who are physically weak and have certain conditions such as:
• Inflamed or sensitive skin
• High fever or convulsions
• Bleed easily (on blood thinners such as warfarin)
• Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back
What Are The Benefits Of Cupping Therapy?
1. Weight Management
In TCM, obesity may be caused by an impaired digestive system. For overweight individuals, cupping can help stimulate digestion, improve bowel movements and improve the removal of waste products from the body.
2. Digestive Problems
Improve bloating, gastric reflux and constipation conditions when done on the stomach area.
3. Back Pain, Stiff Neck & Health Maintenance
To promote one’s overall health, cupping helps rejuvenate the meridians and internal organs that are not in their optimal condition. Cupping is also especially good in relieving any muscle soreness.
What About Those Cupping Marks?
Remember seeing those purplish marks on professional athletes? Yes, you may get some of those too.
But fret not! It is common for cupping to leave distinctive small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied and is usually painless.
Photo Credit: celebritydiagnosis
What Does The Marks Mean?
These cupping marks indicate that the blood and qi stagnation in your body. Cupping will open up the capillaries (small blood vessels) to allow fresh oxygenated blood to nourish and heal the underlying areas.
The colour and pattern of the marks reflect the level of stagnation in that area. The darker the colours, the more stagnation present.
Temporary Visual Marks
When Will The Marks Go Away?
These harmless marks will slowly fade before disappearing completely within a week of treatment, depending on the skin’s regenerative ability.
After regular cupping treatments, you will find that the marks will be visibly lighter and lighter as the toxins are removed from the body.
• Light pink: Fade within a few minutes to an hour.
• Dark red: Fade between 3 days to a week (up to 2 weeks if it is an old injury and one is sedentary).
If you are going away on a beach holiday or do not wish to have marks on certain areas, please let the TCM Physicians know.