What is Cupping? Everything You Need to Know About the Chinese Medicine Therapy

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Cupping is a Chinese medicine therapy in which cups are applied to the skin along the channels (meridians) of the body creating suction as a way of promoting “Qi” or life force by drawing energy and blood flow to areas of the body that are experiencing inflammation.  The cups are made of a variety of materials glass, bamboo, or earthenware.  The suction of the cups activates blood flow to promote healing of a broad range of ailments.

Cupping helps reduce pain naturally.  Releases tissues deep inside the body by relaxing muscles easing stiffness.  Cupping targets soft tissue by applying localized pressure to pain points and areas of swelling by increasing blood flow.  Athletes have been known to use cupping to naturally improve performance and reduce stiffness, joint pains, and scar tissue cause by injuries.  You may have seen circular bruises on many Olympic athletes this year.  The mens gymnastic team and many swimmers have began using this therapy to prevent injuries and speed recovery during competition.  Many athletes prefer this over massage because it pulls muscles and tendons up instead of pressing them down.

Cupping promotes relaxation and often helps alleviate physical complaints and allows people to relax by sedating the central nervous system.  Once the cups are placed and suctioned you need to remain still and forces you to be silent when you might otherwise not be.  It is soothing because the cups help lift pressure in tense muscles much like a receiving a deep tissue massage.

It is believed that cupping therapy helps remove toxins from the body and improves immunity.  In a 2012 report researchers concluded that cupping is more than a placebo effect stating that it has benefits similar to acupuncture.  Cupping isn’t usually painful.  You might feel some heat and tightness around the cup but will find it relaxing and soothing.  Some skin discoloration may develop after the therapy which can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

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As a Certified Health Coach from Integrative Nutrition, I have combined my love for cooking, with my knowledge of healthy ingredients and recipes for specific dietary types.

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