What is Cupping?

Cupping (also known as Hijama) is a healing therapy which dates back to ancient Chinese medicine and involves creating a vacuum around areas of injury, pain, or tension using specialized cups which pull skin into the vacuum and effectively increasing blood flow to the affected area.

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

While ancient Chinese cupping was performed using cattle horns or cross sections of bamboo, most providers now use glass or plastic cups. Generally, the technique of cupping is done using glass cups. A cotton ball is saturated with 91% alcohol and then lit to create heat. After this the cotton is placed into a glass cup and removed. The glass cup is quickly placed on the skin, thereby creating a vacuum. This may be commonly referred to as “Fire Cupping”, a therapy which Dr. Laddu has been extensively trained in, but at Avanti Acupuncture and Wellness Center , she uses plastic cups with a suction pump which does not involve lighting a substance, and is just as effective as fire cupping.

Dr. Laddu performs dry cupping as opposed to wet cupping therapy. In dry cupping, the suction cup therapy is applied to the body for several minutes, during which you can relax, or choose to combine it with one of our other therapies. Cupping is usually a needleless therapy, but it can be used in conjunction with needles. Cupping massage, or cupping combined with acupuncture are popular choices among our clients that want to maximize their healing and benefits per session. Not sure how to incorporate cupping into your treatment plan? Come in to the office and we’ll be happy to discuss how to best incorporate cupping into your wellness regimen.

But...What About The Bruises?

Cupping therapy is excellent for bringing circulation to the surface, which helps to release toxins, relieve pain, and relax muscle tension. In order to create the vacuum that forces the skin to rise, generally the therapist will light a flammable substance in the cup, and then remove it before quickly placing it on your body. This creates a vacuum due to the heat rising and releasing oxygen, which pulls skin upwards and increases blood flow to the area where the cup is placed. Even if Fire Cupping is not used, suction cupping with a pump still pulls the skin upward for the desired outcome.

After your cupping treatment you will likely notice dark marks on your skin where the cups were placed that resemble a bruise. This discoloration is due to broken blood capillaries beneath the skin, similar to a bruise. Unlike a bruise, cupping marks will not be tender to the touch.

Importantly, cupping marks serve a purpose; your therapist is able to use them diagnostically and identify the level of stagnation the muscle and tissue is experiencing.

What are the Benefits?

A key (and largely unknown) benefit of Cupping is as a diagnostic tool. As previously mentioned, cupping can help your therapist understand the level of stagnation that the area they are working on is experiencing. No marks indicate a lack of blood flow to the area, lighter marks mean the area has healthy blood flow and no accumulated toxins or pathogens. However, dark or very dark marks can indicate moderate to severe stagnation and poor circulation. This can help you and your therapist determine the best course of action and continued treatment in order to address problem areas. 

Improving blood circulation is another benefit of cupping. The increased blood flow to affected areas where cups are placed enables your body to circulate and then remove the stagnated toxins that have been accumulated, as well as activates your body’s immune response in order to help with cell repair and aid in removing toxins. Increased circulation can also reduce inflammation and reduce the time needed for healing.

Is it Right for You?

Cupping is most effective for conditions that involve muscular aches and pains or injuries. Cupping is also effective for the early stages of colds and certain lung conditions. Cupping treatments are also used for a variety of other conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, lower back pain, migraines, fertility issues, hypertension, and many many more.

While cupping is a safe and low risk therapy, you’ll want to find an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner in order to get the most out of your session and avoid the risk of infection that can come from an inexperienced provider that doesn’t follow proper sanitation protocols.

Instead of running a search for “cupping therapy near me”, take a look at reviews, and the experience of the therapists at each establishment.

At Avanti, you’re in good hands. Dr. Laddu has years of experience in the field of Integrative Medicine and will craft a comprehensive treatment plan with you to ensure that your cupping treatment is the most effective it can be..

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