Cupping therapy is a form of therapy that involves placing cups on the skin to create suction, either by heat or a vacuum device. It has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions and is thought to be particularly effective at easing conditions that create muscle aches and pains, as well as treating aches and pains associated with various diseases. Although there are many types of cupping therapies, the most popular are dry and wet cupping. Dry cupping involves pulling the skin into the cup via a negative pressure vacuum with a suction device; in wet cupping, the skin is punctured, drawing blood into the cup.
Cupping therapy has a wide range of benefits, especially for muscles and joints. In addition, cupping therapy is thought to improve immune function and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This technique can help to:
- Increase circulation to the target area
- Flush built-up toxins through the lymphatic system
- Improve varicose veins and spider veins
- Provide stimulation to muscles
- Reduce musculoskeletal pain and inflammation
- Stimulate the immune system
- Lower cholesterol
Cups generally should not be placed directly on veins, arteries, nerves, open wounds, body orifices, lymph nodes, bone fractures, or sites of deep vein thrombosis. Cupping therapy is contraindicated for patients with cancer, organ failure, bleeding disorders, or a pacemaker. Pregnant patients and anemic patients may require special consideration on a case-to-case basis.