Watching glass cups pull skin and muscles upward might not look like the most comfortable experience. In fact, it can appear unsettling, especially to someone who’s never tried alternative medicine before. However, contrary to how it looks, cupping and scraping are actually very effective treatments for a handful of conditions.
Cupping is a form of alternative medicine where suction is created with the use of special cups. It’s supposed to help with blood and energy flow. The earliest record of its use dates back to 1500 BC in the Ebers Papyrus, one of the ancient medical books in the world. Scraping, meanwhile, has been used as early as 2000 years ago as a form of medical treatment in China. Similar with cupping, scraping helps with blood flow and healing.
Now, if you are wondering how exactly can you benefit from these two treatments, here’s a quick rundown for you.
For Sore Muscles
Cupping is typically used in sports acupuncture to relieve neck, pain and shoulder pain. It stimulates blood flow by utilizing negative pressure.
Think of cupping as the reverse of a massage. Instead of applying pressure to your target muscles, it utilizes gentle pressure to pull the muscles upward.
For a lot of people, it can be relaxing and calming. It helps increase the blood flow as well as the oxygen supply of the muscles to decrease pain and promote healing.
For Common Colds
When your body doesn’t have good energy and blood flow, it becomes unable to fight off bacteria and viruses. As a result, you become more prone to infections.
Cupping helps by getting rid of the toxins that are bogging down your immune system. It makes it easier to break down and dislodge mucus. It gets rid of the toxins blocking your Chi, too, so you can feel more energized and healthier
For High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of today’s most common medical issues. When not treated properly, it can lead to a handful of debilitating complications. Just think of eye problems, heart failure and kidney diseases.
For that exact reason, a lot of people resort to conventional medications. Although those drugs help to a certain extent, their side effects mostly outweigh the benefits. Patients experience low stamina, headache, dry coughs and nausea.
Cupping makes a great alternative to antihypertensive drugs. In fact, one study was able to establish how effective cupping therapy is for reducing blood pressure without any serious side effects. What cupping basically does is draw out stagnant blood so that your body’s lighter blood can flow more freely. It can also improve your lipid profile and lower your total cholesterol.
For Management of Diabetes
Cupping, particularly wet cupping, can be used as a complementary therapy for diabetes. Unfortunately, not all diabetic patients can have it done.
Diabetic patients tend to have higher glycogen content in their skin. Since cupping can result in burns and bruises, it can only increase their risk for bacterial infections. If a patient really wants to get it done, then protecting the skin and preventing skin breakdown should be a priority.
For Stomach Issues
Your body systems function closely to how you feel and think. If you are under intense stress, one of the first body systems to react negatively is your digestive system. You’ll feel constipated and bloated. You’ll develop fat around your waist and you’ll feel congested.
By relaxing you and your muscles, cupping can help release the tension in your digestive tract. It can help relieve diarrhea, constipation, gastritis and chronic stomach pain. It can also break down fat and soothe indigestion.
For Joint Pain
People who are over 50, overweight, and have a family history of joint diseases aren’t limited to painkillers and steroids in controlling their condition. A study was able to establish how dry cupping can be helpful in relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
It can reduce pain and improve blood circulation. It can also get rid of the inflammatory substances and toxins causing the condition.
For Infertility Issues
According to Chinese medicine, most women who have fertility issues are believed to have stagnant blood. They happen frequently in the lower abdomen and result in conditions like endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
In order to conceive, your reproductive system needs a supply of clean and fresh blood. By undergoing cupping, you are essentially undergoing detoxification to flush out toxins and metabolites to help create a better uterine lining.
For Aging Skin
Cupping and scraping aren’t limited to treating illnesses and discomforts. They are also found to have anti-aging benefits. Since they can increase blood flow, they are also able to bring more nutrients to the skin. They can make treatments and skin care products easier to absorb, too.
By massaging, cupping is able to stimulate and relax tensed muscles. If you have some puffiness, it can stimulate your lymph glands to drain more fluid so you can look a lot less bloated. Cupping can also diminish cellulite, skin breakouts and eczema.
How To Prepare For Cupping And Scraping
For you to experience all those benefits, you need to properly prepare for the session. Here are some of the things to keep in mind before and after cupping and scraping.
- Arrive earlier than your set appointment to briefly talk about your allergies, medical history and long term illnesses to your therapist. You should also inform your therapist about any fainting spells you’ve had.
- Wear something comfortable. It should allow you to easily slip into a patient gown.
- Take a warm bath to help you relax.
- Tell your therapist if you are taking any medications.
- Avoid eating foods that have high amounts of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
- Get plenty of sleep and rest.
- Drink lots of water.
- Bring a scarf or a jacket to cover up the cupped areas after.
- Check your schedule for any upcoming event. Skin discolorations can last for 1 to 3 weeks and it can prevent you from wearing strapless dresses and gowns.
- Avoid taking hot showers, baths and saunas for 24 hours.
- Do not engage in aggressive exercise for the same period.
- Do not scratch or scrub the cupping sites.
- If you feel light headed, do not stand up right away. Instead, lay down and raise your legs.
- Make sure to cover the cupped areas and avoid exposure to draft after treatment.
- You can take over-the-counter pain relievers if there’s any lasting discomfort.
- Take down time and allow your body to recuperate.
- Do not take toxic substances, like alcohol, within 48 hours of cupping.
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