Cupping Therapy: Welcoming Back An Ancient Modality

At Lime Green Lotus, I am excited to offer the ancient art of cupping. This is an alternative medicine technique in which a therapist places glass, bamboo, earthenware or silicone cups on the skin to create suction. Cupping Therapy is currently experiencing a resurgence, but actually dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the world’s oldest medical text books, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1550 B.C.

Cupping is a “deeper than deep” massage that boasts some impressive benefits:

  • Manages and reduces pain.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Improves circulation to promote relaxation and enhanced wellbeing.
  • Helps treat respiratory issues and colds by clearing phlegm or congestion, and improving the immune function.
  • Improves digestion.

There are different types of cupping including dry, wet (an ancient form of cupping no longer in use) and medical cupping. During both dry and wet cupping your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol or herbs in a cup and set it alight. Once the fire is extinguished, the cup is then placed upside down on the skin. As the vapor inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for three minutes.

A more modern version of cupping – and the form I offer – uses a rubber pump, instead of fire, to create the vacuum inside the cup. The most recent form uses a medical machine which monitors the pressure being used inside the cup. This pressure mimics the body’s natural rhythm.

Sarah Downing is a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Lime Green Lotus. Get in touch to learn more.

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