Introduction of Chinese Cupping Therapy

Chinese Cupping Therapy refers to an ancient Chinese practice in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (by using change in heat or by suctioning out air), so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup.  

This treatment has some relation to certain massage techniques, such as the rapid skin pinching along the back that is an important aspect of tuina (12). In that practice, the skin is pinched, sometimes at specific points (e.g., bladder meridian points), until a redness is generated.  

Some time Cupping is applied to certain acupuncture points, as well as to regions of the body that are affected by pain (where the pain is deeper than the tissues to be pulled).  

Traditional cupping, with use of heated cups, also has some similarity to moxibustion therapy.  Heating of the cups was the method used to obtain suction: the hot air in the cups has a low density and, as the cups cool with the opening sealed by the skin, the pressure within the cups declines, sucking the skin into it.  In this case, the cups are hot and have a stimulating effect something like that of burning moxa wool.

The earliest use of cupping that is recorded is from the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281–341 A.D.).  The method was described in his book A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, in which the cups were actually animal horns, used for draining pustules.  As a result of using horns, cupping has been known as jiaofa, or the horn technique.  In a Tang Dynasty book, Necessities of a Frontier Official, cupping was prescribed for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis (or a similar disorder).  More recently, Zhao Xuemin, during the Qing Dynasty, wrote Supplement to Outline of Materia Medica, including an entire chapter on “fire jar qi” (huoquan qi).  In it, he emphasized the value of this treatment, using cups made of bamboo or pottery, in alleviating headache of wind-cold type, bi syndrome of wind origin, dizziness, and abdominal pain.  Cupping also is thought to dispel cold by virtue of its ability to release external pathogenic factors, including invasion of wind, damp, and cold.

MODERN CUPPING

During the 20th century, new glass cups were developed.  Common drinking glasses have been used for this purpose, but thick glass cupping devices have also been produced and are preferred.  The introduction of glass cups helped greatly, since the pottery cups broke very easily and the bamboo cups would deteriorate with repeated heating.  Glass cups were easier to make than the brass or iron cups that were sometimes used as sturdy substitutes for the others; further, one could see the skin within the cup and evaluate the degree of response. 

The glass cups are depressurized by providing some fire in the cup to heat up the air within just prior to placement.  For example, hold a cotton ball dipped in alcohol with a pincer, ignite it, hold it in the cup, then rapidly apply to the skin; this is called shanhuofa.  

At the end of the 20th century, another method of suction was developed in which a valve was constructed at the top of the jar and a small hand-operated pump is attached so that the practitioner could suction out air without relying on fire (thus avoiding some hazards and having greater control over the amount of suction).  Both glass and plastic cups were developed, though the plastic ones are not very well suited to moving along the skin once in place, as the edges are not entirely smooth and the strength of the cups is limited.  The modern name for cupping is baguanfa (suction cup therapy).

Generally, the cup is left in place for about 5 to 20 minutes depend on the area of the body.   The skin becomes reddened due to the congestion of blood flow.  The cup is removed by pressing the skin along side it to allow some outside air to leak into it, thus equalizing the pressure and releasing it.  Some bruising along the site of the rim of the cup is expected.

Today, cupping is mainly recommended for the treatment of pain, gastro-intestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), and paralysis, though it can be used for other disorders as well.  The areas of the body that are fleshy are preferred sites for cupping.  Contraindications for cupping include: areas of skin that are inflamed; cases of high fever, convulsions or cramping, or easy bleeding (i.e., pathological level of low platelets); or the abdominal area or lower back during pregnancy.  

TREATMENT SUMMARY

Some Medicinal Practices believe that weight gain and obesity are caused when the liver and spleen do not function optimally. The spleen controls the movements of the digestive system, directs the digestion of food and conversion of food and fluids into energy or “Qi”. The spleen then directs this energy to all parts of the body. When the spleen malfunctions, the qi stagnates and condition called dampness or fat is created leading to weight gain.

The stimulation from cupping therapy can result in the release of stress and anxiety, eliminate water retention, remove toxins from the fat cells of the body, stimulate the digestive system, control food cravings, promote effective metabolism and bowel movements that lead to weight loss in the body. Chinese Cupping Therapy sessions have show to be very effective and reported steady weight lost in each session. The amount of actual weight loss can be very person to person.

At our practice, we provide 12 sessions treatments over 4 weeks. 3 days in a roll and have the rest week free of cupping, we also provide meal plan to assist healthy eating and living. We take our customer to a journey of healthy eating along the cupping treatment for a month and review at the end of month.