Chinese massage has already been popular in the West for quite some time, but fewer Westerners have been adventurous enough to try one particular kind of Chinese massage called cupping therapy.
In this therapy, suction is created on the skin, sometimes using hand or electric pumps, but in traditional practice, a flame is used to create suction in the cup, which is then placed on the back. Cupping masseuses will place a number of cups down the back, and the flame (often in conjunction with hot scented oils) will create suction by making the air inside the cup much hotter than the air outside it, so that when the cup is placed on the back, the air will contract and draw the skin tightly inside. It is believed this suction on the skin can mobilize blood flow to the area in order to promote healing. Traditional Chinese medicine practices cupping as a valuable part of acupressure – the vacuum on the skin dispels “stagnation” in the blood and lymphs, thereby improving the flow of energy “qi.” Cupping therapy can also be effective for ailments.
1) Cupping for Colds
Dispelling stagnant blood, lymph and mucous is especially helpful for those fighting off the common cold. Clearing the fluids that ail you through cupping (and then of course rehydrating thoroughly!) is great for respiratory diseases, even pneumonia and bronchitis.
2) Cupping for Asthma
Since cupping therapy can be so effective for clearing stagnant body fluids, it’s great for the lungs – not only will it clear congestion for cold sufferers, but it can also help bring relief to asthma sufferers.
3) Cupping for Detoxification
Since cupping follows the traditional Chinese medicinal practice of acupressure, it places cup along the body’s “lines of meridians.” By placing the cups in this alignment, they help to also align and relax your qi. By allowing the body’s qi to flow more freely throughout the body, toxins are released, blockages cleared, and veins and arteries refreshed.
4) Cupping for Athletes
Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue massage therapies available. Chinese medicinal practitioners claim that cupping affects tissues up to four inches deep from the eternal skin. Not only can you use cupping to treat sore and tired back muscles, but also you can target specific body parts – hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can all be “cupped” to treat any sore area.
Still not sure if cupping’s for you? Check out how these celebs flaunt their backs post-cupping therapy session on E! Online
Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Arquette, Jessica Simpson
You can get your own cupping kit and instructional book here: