What is cupping therapy, and how does it work?

What is cupping therapy, and how does it work?

By Nordic Balance

The trouble with natural therapies is that they often sound pretty painful. With Shockwave Therapy, Acupuncture’s needles and now the suction used in cupping therapy, those of us who are squeamish might take some convincing.


But in reality, the pain is nowhere near as bad as it looks. Although it leaves behind slightly strange-looking red rings cupping therapy is deeply relaxing. It also achieves a wide range of fantastic benefits (without any harsh chemicals).


At Nordic Balance, we utilise the extensive research and perfected techniques that have been invested into traditional natural therapies over centuries. These practices have been around for centuries, even thousands of years. And there’s a reason they’ve stood the test of time.


Our blog is filled with guides to natural therapies, with insights provided by our natural therapy professionals. In this edition of our natural therapy series, we’ll be exploring cupping therapy. Below, you can find out more about this ancient healing technique, how it works and the benefits it has to offer.


What is cupping therapy?


Cupping is an ancient natural therapy. The healing technique originates from Chinese, Korean and Oriental medicine. It can be traced back to AD 980 when Arabic and Islamic physicians historically recommended it as a treatment method. Other historians have identified the practice of cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C. ancient Egypt, where it was noted in the ancient Ebers Papyrus medical textbook.


By the 14th century, cupping therapy had made its way into the practices of European medicine.


Cupping therapy is performed by applying cups to the skin’s surface. Typically, around 3-6 cups are applied in one session. This creates a vacuum (either through heat or suction) within the cup, putting pressure onto the skin. This pressure is designed to treat the deep accumulation of fluids and/or musculoskeletal pain.


There are two types of cupping therapy, dry and wet, but dry is far more prevalent in the U.K.


Another variation from traditional cupping therapy is the material used for the cups. Although traditional practitioners used glass, earthenware or even bamboo cups, most cupping therapists today will use plastic cups, as it provides a stronger suction.


What are the benefits of cupping therapy?


Cupping therapy creates a localised pressure beneath the skin. This pressure dramatically increases the blood circulation to and around that area.


It may sound simple, but this gives cupping a range of impressive health benefits, including:


– Promoting healthy blood flow to the skin
– Improving anaerobic metabolism
– Reducing inflammation
– Facilitating optimal function of the immune system
– Increasing the patient’s pain threshold(!)


What is it used to treat?


Thanks to the effects that cupping achieves, it is a highly effective treatment for several musculoskeletal issues.


Cupping is a popular natural therapy for the treatment of:


– Lower back pain
– Migraines
– Facial paralysis
– Carpal tunnel syndrome
– Diabetes mellitus
– Rheumatoid arthritis
– Asthma


It is also a popular form of deep-tissue massage, designed to aid wellbeing and help the patient relax (we told you it wasn’t painful!).


However, it’s important to note that cupping is not recommended for all patients. In some cases, particularly if an individual is suffering deep vein thrombosis, organ failure, cancer, or is fitted with a pacemaker, then cupping therapy would not be suitable. If you have any questions regarding whether cupping therapy is right for you, our team is always on hand to help.


At Nordic Balance, our natural therapists specialise in natural cupping therapy treatments. Chat to the experts about the symptoms you are experiencing, and they will design a course of cupping therapy to alleviate them.


You can book a cupping therapy session at either our Abbeville Road, Wimbledon Village or St James’s clinics. 


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