what is cupping?
The latest crave in the alternative world is cupping. It seems more people want to try cupping thanks to Dr. Oz’s television show. I thank him very much for promoting such a wonderful modality within Chinese medicine.
After watching the Dr. Oz show, what he lets you know is that cupping is great for most pain. Especially, lower back pain. What he did not mention is that cupping is fantastic for so many other things such as, colds, arthritis, asthma, cough, hives, gastrointestinal problems, dysmenorrhea and hypertension. Not to discount the affect cupping has on pain because I believe it works the best for pain issues such as lower back pain, tension on the upper back/ neck pain and mid back pain. Not only does the pain melt away but cupping feels really good due to the heat trapped within the cups when placed on the skin.
how does it help?
Most people ask how cupping can help with all of these ailments? When dealing with pain, blood and qi can get stuck within the areas where the pain is located. This usually occurs from overuse or a physical injury. When I place the cups near the area of stagnation the cups allow the blood that is stuck to flow properly. When the blood starts to move freely, the pain begins to go away. Depending on how severe the pain is you should feel a decrease in pain and typically within the day, the pain feels significantly better.When getting cupping for asthma or lung issues such as cough or a cold, the cups must be placed at a strategic area on the upper back. This placement needs to be over the points called Ub11 (Urinary Bladder) and Ub13. Which is the back shu points for lungs and for wind. When helping with asthma, flash cupping would be the preferred method because it helps to strengthen the lungs since most of the time asthmatics have weak lungs. If you are interested, flash cupping is where you only place the cup on the selected point for a few seconds then you take it off and replace many times over for a minute or two.
When getting cupping for a common cold, we want to leave the cups over the selected points UB11 and UB13 for 15-20 minutes so that the warmth of the cups are able to dispel the cold from the surface of the skin near the neck. If you combine cupping, acupuncture and herbal formulas, most of the time you can take 2 to 3 days off the length of the cold. Not bad!
There are some things to be cautious of when considering cupping. If you are pregnant, cupping cannot be done on the abdomen for gastrointestinal issues or on the lower back for pain. This can cause too much movement which could lead to miscarriage or premature pregnancy. You can still try it while pregnant but should only do it on the upper back for tension and pain.
People with bleeding disorders many want to be very cautious if considering cupping due to the amount of blood being moved near the skin. Also, elderly people that have loose or thin skin should also be very cautious when considering cupping due to tearing of the skin.The final caution for cupping is that bruising can occur and last for several days depending how much stagnation is in the area. If you have big plans such as getting married or going to a work outing where you may be wearing a strapless dress, I would wait till the event is over for a cupping session. It may look like you were attacked by an octopus which may bring up questions from friends and family.