Effects of cupping therapy

Effects of Cupping Therapy

The effect of this therapy can be classified into two categories: the general (purification of blood, improvement of circulatory functions of blood and lymph, regulation and betterment of automatic nervous system, etc.) and the local (removal of pain, relaxation of stiff muscles, etc.). The former effects, that is, effects upon the bodily tissues and organs, are as follows:

1. Effects upon the skin

 According to one experiment on a 35-year-old male subject, fine hair on his back grew to thick hair of 1 to 1.5 cm long after about 140 applications of treatment by this method. This is because the direct physical stimuli on hair roots and the expansion of blood vessels of the skin, by means of the pull of low pressure, cause an increase in blood circulation, a rise of skin temperature, the promotion of metabolism within skin tissue, better functioning of sweat and sebaceous glands and of cutaneous respiration and sufficient supply of nutrition to the tissues. The essential point of ‘cupping therapy’ is not only to withdraw stagnant old blood within the skin but also to remove poisonous substances from the surface of the skin. This is why, when a doctor continues this therapy on a patient with his bare hands, they become yellowy. It accelerates secretion of salts and sebaceous matter and the excretion of water. Another important point is that it strengthens the renewing power of the skin and its resistance to various harmful conditions.

Effects of cupping therapy

2. Effects upon muscles

 The pull of low-pressure ‘cupping therapy’, the functioning of blood vessels within the muscles is activated in response to the stimulation of the subcutaneous capillary vessels. Thus the expansion of the blood vessels in the muscles facilitates the flow of blood and has a remarkable effect on a stiff shoulder, for example, removing congested blood. Moreover, this facilitates the flow of lymph. After the ‘cupping therapy’, the skin will be all aglow as a result of the rise in skin temperature and muscles by the increase of the blood flow.

3. Effects upon joints

 Chronic joint rheumatism is one of the conditions for which ‘cupping therapy’ is effective. In this case the treatment is concentrated on the area of the joints concerned. When the condition is mild, an almost complete cure is possible, and this results from the better flow of blood within the joint, the activity and secretion of synovial fluids. In case of muscular spasms around the joints, they can be removed.

4. Effects upon the digestive organs


Most patients feel hungry after the Cupping therapy on the stomach region. As the digestive organs, especially Spleen and Stomach, looked upon as the ‘engine’ of the human body are regarded as the most important; and the treatment of  the Middle Jiao is considered equally important. In other words, as the natural healing power of the body derives its energies mainly from the digestive organs, a great emphasis is laid on the treatment of the stomach, spleen and intestines. The pulling power of low pressure upon the belly stimulates the inside of the organs, their peristaltic movement and secretion of digestive fluids, and strengthens thereby the power of digestion and absorption of nourishment as well as the power of secretion. Therefore, this therapy has remarkable effects upon chronic gastroenteritis disorders and the constipation as a whole.


General Effects of Cupping Therapy

Purification of Blood

Among the general effects, the most important is the effect upon the circulatory system. Professor Kentaro Takagi of Nagoya University says that the skin-stimulating therapies are significant in that they awaken the greatest responses in the circulatory system. His remarks were not necessarily directed towards cupping therapy, but I think it has much in common with the skin-stimulating therapies he mentioned. Owing to the pull of low pressure, the flow of blood in the arteries and veins increases, although in the case of the latter, localized spots of congested blood appear and then disappear. It is possible to ease the interruption of blood circulation and congestion and to stop the inflammatory extravasation (escaping of bodily fluids such as blood) from the tissues. Therefore, facilitation of the flow of blood is the most important characteristic of this therapy. It is very beneficial for hardened arteries, stiff shoulders, etc.


Effects on the Nervous System

Cupping therapy stimulates the sensory nerves of the skin.

As demonstrated in a clinical experiment conducted at Kobe University, the inhibitory effects on hypersensitive pain are not limited to the area of direct treatment, but include the areas controlled by the relevant nerves. Treatment on the back is mainly directed to the central line (spinal nerves and parasympathetic nerves) and the sympathetic nerves beside it. The stimulation of these has, it can be said, a good influence not only on the automatic nervous system itself but also on various organs under its control.

Cupping therapy is, like massage, effective against the so-called syndrome of general malaise, such as chronic headaches, dizziness, languor, stiff shoulders, fatigue, etc. These are said to derive from anxiety, worry and bodily pain. It is also effective against endogenous chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, neuralgia and rheumatism. During treatment with this therapy on the back or the loins, for example, some middle-aged or elderly patients fall asleep, snoring loudly. This clearly shows one of the effects upon the nervous system. The mechanism of its effectiveness will be clarified some day. Thus the general and localized effects of this therapy strengthen the healing power against diseases and, together with a healthy diet and psychotherapy, cure or prevent disease completely.

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