What is Cupping Therapy ~ Negative pressure, rather than tissue compression is superior for bodywork for pain, stubborn conditions, repetitive strains, inflammation, toxicity, chronic fatigue, disgestive problems and a slough of other issue we confront as we grow older.
Benefits of Cupping Therapy ~
- Deep tissue work and release without discomfort
- Moves stagnation and drains fluids
- Relieves Inflammation
- Nervous System Sedation
- Breaks Up and Expels Congestion
- Stretches Muscle and Connective Tissues
- Loosens Adhesions
- Pulls blood supply to the Skin
- Facilitates the movement of Qi and Blood systemically and locally
- Dispels wind, damp and cold to treat muscle and joint pain, stiffness, and arthritis
- Strengthens the immune system by promoting the flow of lymphatic fluid
- Treats excess heat conditions, fever, stress, depression and anxiety
- Cleans the blood and lymph and helps to balance PH levels
*Suction cups rapidly facilitate rigid soft tissue release, loosens & lifts connective tissue, breaks up and drains stagnation while increasing blood & lymph flow to skin & muscles in ways not possible using compression.
*It can feel really great when done properly for your constitution and current physiology and/or condition. The pulling action engages the parasympathetic nervous system, thus allowing a deep relaxation to move through the entire body. It is not unusual to fall asleep when receiving this treatment. You will be surprised at how relaxed, warm and light you'll feel – hours... sometimes even days afterwards.
What can I expect as far as physical effects from suction cup therapy?
The after effects of Cupping are most intense at the beginning of receiving treatments, and lessen dramatically as your system becomes accustomed to the treatments as they cumulate. Besides the effects Cupping provides for specifica conditions, injuries and illnesses, some of the general after effects include:
• the need for sleep
• intense hunger (munchies)
• no appetite
• similar to post deep tissue massage
• feelings of being "hung over"
• increased bowel elimination
• stronger body odor (detox)
• "best nights sleep in years"
• inability to sleep
• vivid dreams
• night sweats
• heightened senses (smell, sight, sound)
• craving for certain foods
• thirst and cotton mouth
• emotional release
• stronger than normal bowel & urine odors
• skin surface warmer than normal
• restless (wanting to clean, organize, etc.)
• soreness, like after strenous exercise
• feeling of reduced mass, increased height
What's the explanation of the marks or discolorations that sometimes occur as a result from suction cup therapy?
One of the common and unfortunate misconceptions concerning cupping is the misinterpretation of the discoloration. “Bruising” is caused by impact trauma with breakage of capillaries and reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged area from the tissue compression/injury. There is no compression in properly employed suction cup therapy. Although it is quite common during Stationary Cupping (left static for 5 - 20 minutes) to achieve dramatic 'marks' or 'discolourations', the less aggressive action of moving the cups, minimizes the intensity and duration of the discolorations.
Often, when a condition exists within deeper structures where sufficient pathologic factors and stagnant fluids (toxins, blood and lymph) are dredged up during treatment, discoloration will appear on the skin. This is the therapeutically desired effect – the more this is visible, the greater the level of stagnation and toxicity. The discoloration will fade over a few days. As treatments cummulate and the release of stagnation and buildup has been thixolated, dispursed and drained – (usually by the 3rd or 4th treatment) no discoloration is likely to occur at all. Even though each time the cupping may have been focused on the same area for the same duration and with the same amount of negative pressure. This is clearly the result of having internal unwanted toxins systematically purged.
If there is concern about having discolorations, and/or the process – then suction cup therapy is not for you.
A Cup of History
The specific origin of Cupping Therapy remains in obscurity - the consensus is that the action of suction has been part of therapeutic efforts throughout human history, migrating with human tribes along migratory routes. These ancient cultures used hollowed out animal horns, bones, bamboo, nuts, seashells and gourds to purge bites, pustules, infections and skin lesions from the body, and many are still in use today. Ancient healers also used Cupping devices to draw evil spirits out of the body and to balance the humors. Earthenware and metal were fashioned into Cupping vessels before the development of glass.
Cupping therapy was used in Egypt dating back some 3,500 years, where its use is represented in hieroglyphic writing. The earliest recorded use of Cupping is from the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281–341 A.D.). In ancient Greece, Hippocrates recommended the use of cups for a variety of ailments, while in the early 1900’s eminent British physician, Sir Arthur Keith, wrote how he witnessed Cupping performed with excellent success.
Suction Cup Therapies remained a constant in professional medical treatment throughout Europe. It was practiced by such famous physicians as Galen (131-200AD), Paracelsus(1493-1541), Ambroise Pare (1509-90) and surgeon Charles Kennedy (1826).
In China, extensive research has been carried out on Cupping, and the practice is a mainstay of government-sponsored hospitals of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The fundamental therapeutic value of Cupping has been documented through several thousand years of clinical and subjective experience and has advanced its application to many areas.
Women healers in communities throughout the world practiced the use of suction to purge, stimulate and heal, passing down their knowledge to apprentices and as family tradition. Cross cultural studies show that Women represented a major source and influence as healers in many cultures, with people traveling for days to reach a well known healer. Reliable sources hold that Cupping throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia was usually performed by the Women in the communities. By the thirteenth century, however, universities including Biomedical studies in their curriculums excluded Women. Despite the fact that non-official "folk" medicine has been poorly represented, Women would have continued to play a major role in health care delivery. Had they been allowed to participate in the higher education arena, their contributions in natural healing modalities, and especially the safe and effective use and continuity of Cupping practices, would have been more substantial than by their male counterparts.
By the mid 1800's, the Western Medical Establishment had imposed upon society, their scientific model of medicine, defining medicine by making the body transparent, focusing on and treating the inside, in preference to the outside. Because Cupping (along with many other Holistic Healing Arts) was a surface treatment, it was inconsistent with this new Biomedical paradigm, which moved away from hands on personal contact and manipulative therapies of generations past.
Although the use of Cupping has remained popular throughout many cultures worldwide, the 20th century witnessed its widespread decrease in many Anglo-Saxon societies. Even the North American Indians used Buffalo Horn, seashells, gourds and bones for Cupping, but as their culture was decimated and its people herded into reservations, their traditions of health maintenance and healing were also lost.
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