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Chinese Cupping Therapy Can Help Your Sore Muscles

Chinese cupping therapy treats the swelling, pain and tension in muscles by stimulating tissue relaxation and better communication between cells.

Chinese Cupping Therapy Can Help Your Sore Muscles

This therapy has been used treat rheumatic diseases like arthritis, skin problems and lung problems.

Are you looking for an effective way to treat your sore muscles? The traditional Chinese therapy of 'cupping' might just be the solution for you. When the world saw dark round marks on Michael Phelps' body after his winning swim in the 2016 Rio Olympics, 'cupping' gained ground. While the oldest use of this therapy has been recorded to be in 1550 BC in ancient Egyptian and middle eastern cultures, it is only now that the therapy has come in trend.

What is it?

Cupping is a type of massage. The difference is that in a general form of massage, pressure is put on your muscles. But here, a suction is created that in turn creates a pressure to pull the skin, muscles and tissues upward.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, our body has 'qi' or a free flow of energy that can sometimes gets blocked and cause pain. This treatment aims to prevent the stagnation of energy by pulling out toxins and improving the energy circulation. When the tissues are pulled up, our blood flow increases and connective tissues loosen to stimulate healing.

To perform this procedure, cups made of glass, bamboo or silicone are placed on back, neck or shoulders, or in general, on the site of the pain.

There are also various types of ways to perform the procedure, depending on the goal of treatment. In dry or fire cupping, traditionally called as the ba guan zi, the cups are warmed and placed on an energy meridian in the body, that lies on the pain area. Herbs and alcohol are put inside the cup and then set on fire to create a vacuum. The cups are left there for 5-20 minutes and the entire treatment requires 4-6 sessions, spread with about 3-10 day gaps.

In the moving or sliding cup technique, a certain type of massage oil is also used in treatment. This helps in sliding the cups to the pain areas easily. This is generally used for large muscle groups and to treat back spasms.

Another form of the massage is air cupping, a hand held suction pump is used to remove air from the cups, creating the vacuum without heat. It is an alternative to fire cupping.

Finally, in wet cupping, a lancet is used to prick the skin before the cup is applied, which encourages a small amount of blood to flow from the area. This treatment is thought to dispel internal toxins and cool down inflammation.

chinese therapy healing pain

There are also various types of ways to perform the procedure, depending on the goal of treatment.
Photo Credit: iStock

How Does It Help?

Cupping treats the swelling, pain and tension in muscles by stimulating tissue relaxation and better communication between cells. According to a research published in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2015, it is found to be effective in pain management.

The therapy has been long in use around the world to treat rheumatic diseases like arthritis, skin problems like eczema, lung diseases like bronchial congestion, anxiety, paralysis, varicose veins and sore muscles.

Are There Any Side-Effects?

The cupping therapy is considered safe with no serious health hazards. One common side effect of the treatment is bruise marks. These occur because blood is pulled up to the surface of the skin during treatment and may last for a few days to a few weeks. These will disappear as the stagnation resolves. Some patients may also experience mild discomfort, minor burns and infection.

It is not recommended to be used on skin sites with active inflammation, burns, infection, or open wounds.

As a form of alternative treatment, the therapy of cupping has received wide recognition as an effective cure for muscle tension, among other problems. Book an appointment with a cupping specialist today to say goodbye to unhealthy energy stagnation!

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