Anyone who has watched the Rio Olympics has noticed that a fair number of the athletes have red circles on their skin. The red marks come from an ancient form of medicine known as cupping. The Egyptians used cupping as far back as 1,550 B.C.
In cupping, the doctor or health provider places unique cups on your skin for several minutes. The cups can be made out of glass, bamboo, silicone, or earthenware.
Cupping IS used for pain management, stress, better flow of blood, and for deep level massages. Cupping can be dry or moist.
The main steps of cupping are these:
- The use of fire. The health provider uses alcohol, paper, herbs, or some flammable substance which is placed in the cup and seat afire. As the fire subsides, the therapist places the cup upside down on the patient’s skin.
- When the air in the cup cools, a vacuum is created which causes the blood vessels to expand. The blood vessel expansion is what creates the red marks. The cup stays on your skin for about three minutes. Today, a rubber pump is sometimes used to create the vacuum instead of fire.
The vacuum is supposed to draw up non-circulating blood and sticky fluids so the healthier blood, cells, nutrient, and oxygen can circulation underneath. This shift in circulation helps people who have muscle pain and bruises.
In wet cupping, the doctor or therapist makes small cuts in the skin with a scalpel – after the cup is removed. A second cup is then used to draw out some of the blood.
Patients normally get 3-5 cup treatments per session. The treated areas are also treated with an antibiotic salve and/or a bandage to prevent infection.
For questions about cupping, please all our Oxford Valley Pain and Spine office in Langhorne, PA. We do cupping treatments. We can be reached at 215.741.4410.