Suction cups or vacuum therapy has a long history. New is the well-forgotten old. Suction cups are an ancient method used in treating pain and various disorders. Vacuum therapy is a popular, non-drug method of treatment in China, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Finland. Cupping caught the attention of the U.S. and possibly the world at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Thanks to Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete, many noticed the rounddeep-purple circles on his back and shoulders, which appear when cupping is performed. When interviewed, Michael Phelps said that he uses cupping to ease muscle pain.
Different techniques for cupping have developed over time; however, applying a cup to create suction over a painful area, is the common denominator with all cupping techniques. At Biotherapy Clinic, cupping therapy is performed by placing vacuum-pumped cups, usually made of plastic, on a targeted body area, where the skin is intact.
Let’s look back to the last century. In the early 1900s, Europe also had a variation of cupping therapy. Autohemotherapy, as it was called in Europe, was used to treat some chronic diseases. A patient’s blood was drawn and immediately reinjected into his/her own body under the skin, specifically into a troubled area. Small artificial bruising occurred, just like it does with cupping therapy.
Two things happen simultaneously with cupping. Cupping causes small blood vessels to break, and blood gets into the tissue under the skin, which causes the artificial bruising.
First, when blood comes out of the blood vessel and enters the body’s tissue, the body’s immune cells are activated. A message is sent to the entire body, “We have a bruise here. Blood has entered the tissue. Send reinforcements!” The body’s immune system sends immune cells to the bruised site to dissolve the bruise. It heightened immune response helps patients who have allergies, auto-immune disorders, sensitivity to chemicals, or any inflammation that occurs with immune systems that are either weak or overstimulated.
Second, when blood leaves the blood vessel and enters the tissue, a chain reaction begins. As the bruise starts to form, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are destroyed. This
process produces a very small amount of the active substances that initiate a biochemical reaction in the body. The body’s inner secretion glands and well-being hormones are now in motion. The well-being hormones, such as serotonin, and many other substances for self-regulation, reduction of pain and inflammation, injury’s healing, improving microcirculation and metabolism, and rejuvenation are working to heal the body. Many diseases disappear only through the mobilization of the body’s internal resources. It can be said that the natural substances released from the bruised area have substantial healing effects. Using the body’s internal healing resources is the best and most harmless way for a person to heal.
Another way that cupping works is through the actual suction. Suction moves toxins from the body. Medical research on cupping shows that negative pressure inside the vacuum cup also improves microcirculation of the tissue that is under the suction cup. Improving microcirculation means more blood, more oxygen, and more nutrients get to the area underneath the cup. The body gets healing and can rejuvenate.
Acupuncturists also use cupping to stimulate specific acupuncture points and channels for additional healing action within a patient.
To summarize, cupping or vacuum therapy improves microcirculation, activates the immune system, increases efficiency and stamina, decreases muscle spasms, which all leads to a reduction in pain and enables the body to heal.
The holistic practitioners at Biotherapy Alternative Medicine Clinic have over 50 years of experience in treating various diseases and disorders in children and adults by using cupping therapy. At Biotherapy Clinic, we typically combine cupping therapy with acupuncture, manual therapy, and abdominal manipulation concurrently in order to achieve maximum healing benefits.
Cupping or vacuum therapy can be beneficial for so many health issues. Listed below are just some ways that cupping can help people who are dealing with:
- Back pain and/or sciatica
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Head, neck, shoulder, knee and face pains
- Meralgia Paresthetica (Bernhardt-Roth Syndrome)
- Piriformis Syndrome (buttock pain)
- Shoulder pain and rotator cuff disorders
- Sport and work related pain
Lung, Bronchi, Nose disorders
- Asthmatic kids and adults
- Hay fever and seasonal allergies
- Persistent cough after cold, bronchitis, pneumonia
- Walking Pneumonia
- Eczema and dermatitis
Within our 50 years of using cupping therapy at Biotherapy Clinic, we have noticed that everyone, healthy or those with chronic illness, feels better after a cupping session.
Cupping is also popular in the world of beauty. In spas and beauty salons, cupping or vacuum therapy is used as a body sculpture as it decreases fat deposits and cellulitis. Cupping activates metabolic and regulatory processes within the body that create a burning of fat. This process, and the results of cupping are a reduction in body fat and thus a reduction in body weight.
Cupping is a non-invasive, inexpensive, and low-risk (if performed by a trained practitioner) therapeutic modality. We at Biotherapy Clinic believe that cupping is a useful tool in alternative medicine practices.