Cupping therapy, also known as Baguanfa, is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world with a history that dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese, approximately 200 AD.
Cupping Therapy: an ancient Chinese technique for improving health and well-being
Baguanfa involves placing a cup, usually made of glass, on the skin and reducing internal pressure (either by heat or suction) to stretch and keep the skin and superficial muscles inside the skin. In some cases, while the suction is active, the cup moves, causing the skin and muscles to stretch.
This technique is applied to certain acupuncture points, as well as to areas of the body affected by pain and is most commonly used on the back because of the ease with which it can be applied to that area of the body. Most doctors use the Shu points on the back or the bladder meridian and the dazhui. It is often practiced after an acupuncture session.
Baguanfa is based on the body’s meridian theory, in which it is believed to eliminate any stagnation in the body and open the meridians so that Qi can flow freely. It helps to rejuvenate certain meridians and organs that don’t work to their fullest capacity.
From a scientific perspective, Baguanfa has been shown to be effective in activating the lymphatic system, promoting blood circulation and helping in deep tissue repair. Therefore, this age-old technique remains a popular choice for those seeking alternative therapies to improve their health and well-being.
The Art of Cupping Therapy: What is it and how does it work?
Historically, suction was achieved by heating the air inside the cups but today, the cups are equipped with a valve that connects to a small hand pump to control the amount of suction applied. In addition, oils that have been infused with herbal medicinal extracts are used to allow the cups to move easily over the skin.
Cupping therapy is done at room temperature but the movement of the cups on the skin generates a small amount of heat, especially if oils with rubefacient properties are used. The cups are left in place for an average of ten minutes, although the time can vary from five to fifteen minutes and are removed by pressing one side of the cup to allow air to enter and deactivate the suction.
It’s important to note that it’s normal for bruising to form in areas of the skin that were suctioned, due to blood flow congestion. However, cupping therapy has been shown to be effective in relieving pain, reducing inflammation and improving blood circulation in certain medical conditions.
Cupping therapy: benefits, recommendations and precautions to consider
Its use is recommended for lung diseases such as chronic cough and asthma, as well as for gastrointestinal disorders and pain in general.
It is important to note that cupping therapy should not be applied to areas with inflamed skin, high fever, seizures or a propensity for bruising. Also, it is not recommended to use it on the abdomen or lower back during pregnancy.
Cupping therapy works on specific areas of the body, penetrating up to four inches below the tissues. This technique releases toxins, stimulates the lymphatic system, unblocks the colon and improves the appearance of the skin, among other benefits. However, it is important to seek the opinion of a health professional before using this technique.