Cupping therapy is the method of using glass or plastic cups to create localized pressure by a vacuum. The Chinese have been doing this since ancient times by using heat inside glass or bamboo cups. The cupping set I use uses suction to create the vacuum instead of fire, which is just as effective and also somewhat safer. The vacuum inside the cups causes the blood to form in the area and help the healing in that area.
Cupping therapy has been found in ancient records dating back 3500 years and it is still used today by many alternative medicine practitioners. Ancient Chinese medicine believes that the body contains "Meridians". These meridians are pathways in the body which the energy of life called Qi ("chi") flows through. It flows through every body part, tissue, and organ. Cupping therapy is mainly performed on one's back because there are five meridians on your back. When these meridians are opened, the internal energy is able to flow through the whole body.
Another healing aspect of cupping therapy is through the release of toxins in your body. The suction from the cups can penetrate deep into your tissues causing the tissues to release harmful toxins. It triggers the lymphatic system, clears the blood vessels, and stretches and activates the skin. This is really noticed when skin conditions such as acne, eczema etc. begin to clear in the areas where the cupping is performed. Cupping will use heat and friction to suck out those toxins and accumulated stress and tensions. The suction created through cupping method will loosen impacted nerve endings thus restoring them to their original state.
I typically apply castor oil to the area where I will be doing cupping in order to allow the cups to glide up and down the skin much easier. But there is also an added bonus to using castor oil. Castor oil itself is great at helping the body to detoxify as well as increase white blood cells (boost immune function) and decrease pain sensation throughout the body. The combination of cupping with the castor oil is also great at increasing circulation. The massaging action coupled with the suction technique can stimulate the activity of health cells because of the excellent blood circulation. With good circulation and healthy activity and growth of cells, your body immune system can effectively fight diseases. Muscle tension and soreness is typically caused by a blockage of blood flow to the area. The less blood that can get into that area, the more damage is done to that part of the muscle and the larger the 'knot' or 'trigger point' becomes. With cupping, the muscle is pulled away from it's surrounding sheath and blood and oxygen are once again allowed to enter the area. With this blood and oxygen comes lots of healing properties that then begin to heal the muscle tissue and once again restore its proper form and function. So you can say 'bye bye' to tight, sore muscles, and the aches and pains that accompany them.
As with any manual therapy or energetic therapy it is always important to get proper rest and drink plenty of water after treatment to make sure you help your body flush out all those toxins that have been released. Weekly cupping treatments are recommended initially to see the most dramatic results, followed by an individualized treatment plan based on the patient's condition and needs.