Cupping therapy is a type of natural treatment in which suction cups are used to improve blood circulation in a region of the body. For this, the suction cups create a vacuum effect, which sucks the skin, resulting in an increase in the diameter of the blood vessels in that exact location. Therefore, there is a greater oxygenation of these tissues, allowing toxins to be released from the blood and muscles more easily.
Therefore, this treatment is often used to treat cellulite, as increased blood circulation can reduce the appearance of orange peel skin. In addition, cupping therapy is also widely used as a natural way to fight muscle pain, since the pressure difference caused by the vacuum displaces the skin from the muscle and increases the amount of blood, creating a relaxing effect.
Cupping therapy treatment can be indicated to eliminate back pain caused by muscle tension or contractures, swelling in the arms, legs or feet, joint pain, and is also a good complement in the treatment of cellulite.
So, it's key benefits include:
- Increased blood circulation in the region;
- Elimination of muscle contractures and trigger points;
- Strengthens blood vessels;
- Increases the production of synovial fluid within the joints;
- Relaxes and calms the body and mind.
The most suitable therapists for cupping treatment are those trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine, an acupuncturist and the physical therapist who specializes in acupuncture or who is aware of this type of technique.
This treatment is also widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and is often associated with acupuncture to treat various health disorders with the purpose of reenergizing the meridians where the Ki vital energy passes. See the main benefits of acupuncture for your health.
How is cupping therapy done
So that cupping therapy is effective it is important you leave the area to be treated uncovered and apply an oil or moisturizer on the skin to allow the suction cups to slide through the skin.
The suction cups should then be placed in the treatment area. The 3 most common ways to apply suction cups to the body are with:
- Silicone cup: just press the silicone cup with your fingers and then put it on the skin, because of the suction effect that creates inside the skin is sucked and the suction cup gets stuck;
- Glass cup: lift a candle and place the flame inside the glass and then place the glass on the skin. The suction forms when the oxygen from inside the glass is consumed by the candle and therefore, if applied quickly on the skin, it sucks it;
- Electronic suction cup: simply position the suction cups in the place you want to treat and then connect the unit to the suction force you wish to use. Slowly the skin is sucked and the suction cup gets stuck in the skin.
Suction cups may also be used in conjunction with other techniques such as acupuncture, where the needles go inside each suction cup, medicinal plants, sangria or water, for example.
How long should treatment last
The duration varies between 5 and 15 minutes and it can consist of individual sessions that may be performed to fight back pain, or up to 8 sessions performed once a week for 8 consecutive weeks.
When the suction cup is put under too much pressure or left on the skin for too long, blood bubbles may appear on the region and if this happens the treatment should be stopped immediately.
When cupping therapy is not recommended
Although it is relatively safe, treatment with cupping therapy is not recommended in people who have:
- Thrombosis, thrombophlebitis or hemorrhagic disorders;
- Varicose veins;
- Fracture in the region to be treated.
In addition, treatment with suction cups should also be avoided during pregnancy, especially if there is no medical supervision.
There are some conditions that cupping therapy can be used for, but require more attention, such as: people with uncontrolled high blood pressure, soon after practicing exercises and their application in areas that do not have a good muscular layer, having more prominent bony extremities.
How is the treatment done and what can happen afterwards
The treatment can be done with the person lying on a stretcher where 1, 2 or several suction cups are placed in the region that needs to be treated. The suction cups can be placed only on top of a contracture in the back or can slide through all the muscles of the back.
As cupping therapy may favor flaccidity, this treatment should not be done exclusively to eliminate cellulite nodules, but should be used in a protocol that involves the use of firming creams and devices such as radiofrequency.
If cupping therapy is performed during your menstrual period after treatment, menstruation may become more intense than usual. Purple marks may also appear in the treated areas and urine may become a little darker than usual.
How to diminish the purple marks caused by the suction cups
When a large amount of suction is used in the region where the treatment was applied it may remain sore for about 5 days. You may also observe purple marks on your body, as soon as the first few minutes of application of the suction cup, observe the redness and purplish color that appears.
So, to prevent this from happening, what you can do is to decrease the pressure of each suction cup and not let it stay in one place. A good strategy for the skin not to be marked or sore is to use little pressure inside the suction cup and apply oil to the skin and constantly move the suction cup over the area to be treated.
Taking a warm bath and massaging the region that has been treated with mosqueta rose oil is an excellent home treatment to prevent pain and purple marks on the skin after treatment.