Since ancient times, cupping therapy has been used to treat a number of chronic ailments. For long, the therapeutic effects of this centuries-old technique were dubbed “placebo”. But the practice has stood the test of time and is a focus of active research. Cupping therapy is regarded as an alternative medicine that has yet to be proved on research grounds as for its therapeutic values. Recently cupping has been increasingly utilized by health professionals and more widely accepted form of treatment due to potential positive effects it may have in treating pain and injury.
The procedure is a simple, non-invasive form of physiotherapy, is cost-friendly and does not require a lot of technical aid. The physiotherapist uses pre-steamed hollow cups to create a negative suction pressure that pulls on underlying muscle. It can increase local and system oxygen in body, thus stimulating healing and reducing nerve damage/dysfunction.
Cupping therapy may be effective for:
- improving blood circulation
- pain reduction
- muscle relaxation
- neuropathic pain
How does it work?
Cupping therapy has well established its position in therapeutic medicine over the centuries, but western medicine that depends upon scientific research in proving the efficacy of a treatment growing.
A Western medicine based approach theorizes the potential benefits of cupping primarily by increased systemic and local oxygen increases in blood following this treatment as noted in several studies. This increase in oxygenated blood may lead to reduction in pain and sensitivity caused by damaged nerves that innervate the skin.
Cupping therapy finds useful indications in,
- Peripheral Neuropathic pain: Pain caused damage/dysfunction of nerve innervating skin or cutaneous nerves.
- Myofascial pain syndrome: Injury to myofascia underneath skin and throughout body can be restrict motion and cause pain
The main procedure of suction by negative pressure can be enhanced by different approaches.
- Nerve glides: Certain movements with cups applied can stimulate healing of nerves
- Therapeutic exercise: Cupping supplemented by specific therapeutic exercise can enhance effects of increased blood flow and nerve healing.
Although cupping is quite helpful, people with bleeding disorders, deep venous thrombosis, skin conditions (psoriasis and eczema), and history of stroke should avoid this therapy.