A healing therapy that dates back thousands of years. The Ebers Papyrus, one the oldest medical texts written in 1550 BC, describes cupping used in Egypt. Hippocrates (c.400 BC), considered “The Father of Modern Medicine”, used cupping to treat many conditions in ancient Greece. Chinese texts report the use of cupping around 280 AD, and has been a fundamental component of Traditional Chinese Medicine since.
Cupping Therapy traditionally was done with horns from animals, and later evolved into using ceramic bowls, and bamboo reeds. Really anything that can create an airtight seal could be used for cupping. Fire was inserted into the container, removing the oxygen and creating a vacuum. The container was then quickly placed on the skin, creating a suction, and lifting of the skin and tissue into the container.
Today Cupping Therapy tends to use more modern equipment, often using plastic or glass containers, and manual or power driven devices to generate the suction within the container.
The negative pressure created by the cupping device draws the skin and tissue into the cupping device. This creates a lift on the underlying tissue layers, with the goal of separating these layers, improving movement and decreasing friction between these tissue layers. Ultrasound studies have shown the cupping can produce an effect on tissues up to 4 inches in depth below the surface of the skin.
By creating more space between tissue layers, there is a decrease in friction between tissue layers, and a decompression of blood and lymphatic vessels. This can help improve circulation and lymphatic drainage. All of these serve to improve range of motion, reduce pain, and decrease swelling. This improves ease of movement and can increase performance, while reducing the risk of future injury.
Athletes often seek Cupping therapy for the benefits of improved mobility, reduced pain, faster injury recovery, decreased stress on tissues, and decreased risk of future injury. Many high profile athletes have been photographed with the distinct round circles on their body.
While the benefits of Cupping Therapy for athletes is pretty clear, these same benefits are often sought after by everyday people, seeking to reduce pain and improve movement.
Cupping Therapy can be used as a stand alone treatment modality, but is often used in conjunction with other treatments to provide even better results.
Types of Cupping
Wet (Hijama) Cupping – Is unique in that the skin is cut or punctures prior to applying the cupping device. As the cups are in place, they begin to fill with blood as it is drawn out through the punctures in the skin. This type of cupping is usually found is Arab cultures.
Dry Cupping – This is the more traditional form of creating a suction within the cupping device and applying it to the skin. Dry cupping has its origins in oriental medicine and Egyptian cultures.
At Integrated Functional Health we only use dry cupping techniques. For Cupping Therapy in the Quad Cities, Contact Us.