Cupping – immune boosting, detoxifying and anti-inflammatory. This ancient therapy will get your blood pumping and speed up the symptoms of cold and flu, so that you can spend less time in bed and more time enjoying the festive season. But what is cupping and how does it work?
Cupping is the practice whereby heated glass or rubber cups are applied to the skin. The pressure inside the cups is reduced either by suction or change in heat so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn to and held inside the cup. Cupping has been shown to work on tissues up to four inches under the skin. One technique, known as massage cupping, is to move the cup whilst the suction of the skin is active, causing a regional pulling of the skin and muscle. Massage oil is used as the therapist slides the cup over the skin in circular movements.
The practice of cupping was first documented in ancient Egypt and China and dates back to over 5000 years ago. Cupping can be split into two categories: wet cupping and dry cupping. During wet cupping a small amount of blood letting is carried out before the cup is applied over the site. Wet cupping is often referred to as Hijama, derived from the Arabic word ‘hajm’ which means ‘sucking’- Hijama is encouraged in Islam.
“I heard Allaah’s Messenger as saying: If there is any effective remedy amongst your remedies, these are (three): cupping, drinking of honey and cauterisation with the help of fire. Allaah’s Messenger had said: As for myself I do not like cauterisation. The cupper was called and he cupped him and he was all right.” – The Great Prophet Mohammed, Sahih al-Bukhari
Cupping is recommended for muscle pain, stress relief and a wide variety of conditions. A review of 135 studies on cupping therapy, which featured in the journal PLOS ONE, found that cupping may be effective on conditions including acne, facial paralysis and herpes zoster when combined with other treatments such as acupuncture.
A sluggish immune system, stiff muscles, and congestion all make winter an ideal time to use cupping therapy. Cupping stimulates blood flow, subsequently causing the body to release and expel toxins. In Chinese medicine the treatment is said to release blockages in ‘Chi’ – the life giving, vital energy that unites body, mind and spirit. When your blood and energy flow are healthy and strong, your body is better equipped to respond efficiently to invasive bacteria and viruses. Cupping is a natural solution to treat the common cold or a lingering cough, and cupping along specific points on the back and chest will break up and draw out mucus. Cupping also works on the lungs and is effective on fever. Post-treatment, patients may experience night sweat, as the body continues to release toxins throughout the night.