Cupping Therapy, Definition, Effects & Type

 What Do We Mean by “Cupping”?

Conditions that cannot be cured with drugs are cured with iron. Conditions that cannot be cured with iron are cured with fire. Conditions  that cannot be cured with fire are incurable. (Hippocrates)

Definition and Treatment Goal

Cupping refers to any natural treatment method in which suction cups are used in therapy.

Cupping is one of the traditional treatment methods that do not involve medicinal substances but nevertheless serve as useful weapons in the fight against many diseases or complaints. Applied correctly, the method is harmless and does not cause any adverse side-effects. The results are often fast and impressive because the body reacts within hours to cupping at the proper location. The goal of cupping is to strengthen or activate the organism’s self-healing powers, when these are not able to do so on their own. Cupping stimulates and supports the options that nature has provided the body with to resist disease.


Effects and Connections

Cupping consists of two components:

Segmental therapy: Regulation therapy:

• The location of cupping

is essential 

• Extravasates (i.e., fluid discharged

from the blood vessels) act as stimuli

Both of these components only affect the source of any illness, but not

healthy body functions and tissue. The essential effect of cupping is the retuning and therefore also the regulation of disturbed body functions, as well as the alleviation of pain and cramping, improvement in blood circulation, and inhibition of inflammation. By locally applying suction cups, extravasates are created and as a result of these, hematomas (bruises) that cause a strong irritation. This irritation activates the bodys own localized, as well as generalized, healing powers and therefore has an anti-inflammatory effect, which in turn supports rapid recovery in any illness based on inflammation (e.g., pneumonia). The process of regulating body functions eliminates blockages that have been caused mostly by a focal disturbance or by excessive consumption of chemical medicines, which impede the natural processes of the organism and make it ill. It is not uncommon that cupping, by eliminating blocked regulation, even brings out additional complaints, which finally indicate the location of the true disorder. By stimulating circulation, cupping aims at widening the blood vessels. Increasing the blood flow at the cupping sites strengthens the metabolism and allows for faster elimination of substances that cause pain and cramping. The above-mentioned segmental therapy occurs via the Heads zones,” via the so-called cutivisceral reflex paths (connections between skin and organ).

Through the nervous system, this has a curative effect on disturbed neurovegetative functions and diseased viscera.

Methods of Application

Cupping Diagnosis

Cupping diagnosis allows the practitioner to determine with the aid of suction cups whether the position of the symptoms is the true location of the disease. Additionally, we can detect which organ is defective and in need of treatment.

“Dry” or “Bloodless” Cupping

In dry cupping, the suction cup is held over an alcohol flame in such a way that the air in it is heated. Then, the cup is placed on the treatment spot. As the heated air cools down, it creates a vacuum inside the cup. This process sucks the skin into the cup, causing hyperemia (strong circulation) at this spot, as well as an extravasate (bloody fluid that has leaked from the vessel and is present in the tissue).

Cupping Massage, a Variation

In cupping massage, as in dry massage, a suction cup is placed on the skin, but is then moved around on the lubricated skin across a certain area. Cupping massage has a much stronger effect on blood circulation than regular massage, resulting in a large, in some places more and in other places less, pronounced extravasate in the treatment area.

“Wet” or “Bloody” Cupping

In wet cupping, blood is drawn at the cupping site by cutting the skin with a scarificator. The cup is placed on the skin only afterwards, to suck the blood out of the cuts. This might sound quite bloodthirsty, but in reality only involves a blood loss of 25 mL at the most. Consequently, an application of 10–15 cups of average size means losing 150–250 mL of blood. Wet cupping is related to bloodletting and the application of leeches. Its effect is not limited to drawing blood, but also includes a drawing out and retuning action.

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