In the practice of Chiropractic and Acupuncture—there is a therapy that many of us have never heard about, even though it has been around as long as the ancient practice of acupuncture. This practice is called “Cupping.” Cupping also has several other names including: pneumatic therapy or manual vacuum therapy. This treatment can be used in conjunction with acupuncture or manual adjustment, as well as a stand-alone treatment.
How does it work?
Small round glass jars are attached to the patient—usually the back—through the simple process of heating the air in the small jars. Your chiropractor will heat the air in the jar, using a small alcohol dampened cotton ball, then remove the cotton ball quickly, and this takes all the oxygen out of the glass container allowing it to stick to your back! What happens next is simple science. The vacuum on your skin causes blood to rise to the surface creating a negative pressure. Blood flows through the muscles and to the surface of your skin assisting healing, muscle relaxation, and release of toxins in the muscle. Cupping can be thought of as a negative massage, where the cups are improving blood flow to the muscles instead of a manual massage. Cupping can be used alone, or in conjunction with acupuncture treatment.
What is cupping used for?
Just like the therapies of acupuncture and manual adjustment, cupping is used for pain management, and to release stressed muscles allowing for relaxation. This is an example of the less invasive treatment methods favored by Chiropractors. Cupping provides relief of musculoskeletal pain and soreness. It is a very effective method for temporarily controlling muscular pain. This method is good for athletes to help relieve muscle cramps and spasms.
An additional benefit of cupping is helping to remove toxins from the muscles. The increased blood flow to muscles aids in flushing toxins. Cupping has a detoxifying effect on skin.
Methods of Cupping
There are several different methods of cupping: massage cupping, dry cupping, air cupping and fire cupping (as mentioned above). Regardless of the method, the principle is still the same, using suction to create a vacuum, increasing blood flow and relieving muscle pain, improving circulation, and removing toxins from your muscles.
If you would like to learn more about cupping, see Dr. Han to discover how the practice of cupping can improve your health.