Cupping therapy is an ancient medical practice from many places around the world. It is majorly practiced around Asian countries like Japan, Korea, China and Arab countries in different forms. The first known reference to Cupping was in an Egyptian text which is the Eber’s papyrus around 1550 BC. It was also described extensively by Hippocrates who happens to be regarded as the father of medicine in many respects. Cupping therapy has been shown by some studies to actually have benefit in many painful conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraines. It is also helpful in treating some other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and facial paralysis. However, there are many types of Cupping therapy.
Types of Cupping therapy:
There are many types of Cupping depending on the classification system you want to use. It can be classified according to the power of suction which ranges from light to pulsatile Cupping (very strong Cupping); the method of suction which could be by fire, manual suction or by automatic vacuums; added therapy types which include needle, laser, moxibustion, laser, magnets or other types of added therapy; classification based on the area or condition of Cupping such as cosmetic sports, abdominal Cupping and so on. However, the major classification of Cupping is based on the technical types which are wet, dry, flash, massage Cupping, and Hijama. Out of these wet and Dry Cupping are the major types of Cupping. We are going to be talking more about Wet Cupping, Dry Cupping, massage Cupping, and Hijama.
In this type of Cupping, there is no bloodletting. Hence, the name Dry Cupping. This type is good for stimulating the muscles around the area just like acupuncture does. It is good for different types of pains too. In this method, the practitioner disinfects the area of the skin which the Cupping procedure is to be performed with an FDA approved disinfectant. Then the cups are placed on the areas which need to be treated. Fire, manual suction or an electric vacuum can be used to create a vacuum which will make the cup suck up parts of the skin. This can be left for about 5 to 20 minutes depending on the type of results which needs to be achieved.
This is called Wet Cupping because blood is actually sucked out of the skin. A session of Wet Cupping lasts for about 20 minutes. First, the practitioner disinfects the skin which needs to be cupped. The practitioner places cups with the appropriate sizes on the skin. Fire, manual suction or vacuum can be used to suck up the skin. They usually leave the cups on the skin for about 5 minutes. So, it is more like 5 minutes of Dry Cupping. This is to get the blood to the area for the Wet Cupping. The next step after this is where the skin is pierced with a blade or needle followed by Wet Cupping where the cup is put back on the skin and a vacuum is created using either fire, manual suction or electrical vacuum.
This practice is very common to the Arabs. It is actually a type of Wet Cupping. The major difference between Hijama and other types of Wet Cupping is that Hijama is done according to the Quranic law. It was endorsed by their prophet Mohammed. The technique is very similar to Wet Cupping. It is not uncommon for qur’anic verses to be recited during a session of Hijama.
Cupping has been shown to relieve muscle tension. Where Cupping is used for the purposes of massage therapy, you have Cupping massage. During a massage session, the practitioner may decide to use either dry or Wet Cupping depending on the situation. However, in many situations, Wet Cupping is the most commonly used type of Cupping.
Cupping therapy is safe compared to many known medical procedures despite the possible risks. However, like any drug or procedure, it has its own contraindications. We do not recommend wet-Cupping for people having acute infections, organ failure, or using anticoagulants. Cupping should not be done directly on veins, skin lesions, open wounds varicose veins or any part of the skin that may be injured or diseased unless a trained therapist deems it fit. As for the uses of Cupping (especially Wet Cupping) in pain, muscle tension, carpal tunnel syndrome, and many others, some studies and reviews are emerging to show the usefulness of Cupping in many of these instances. Some evidence point to the fact that a combination of Cupping with electroacupuncture (a form of acupuncture) greatly improves acute gouty arthritis and chicken pox. Another study in China showed that a combination of Wet Cupping and red-hot needle treatment with other traditional methods did better than halometasone cream in treating neurodermatitis.