Cupping Therapy is an ancient practice that spans both East and West. In the ancient shamanic traditions of many of the world's indigenous peoples there were healers who specialized in the sucking out of illness and infirmity from the body.
In the East, the Chinese have been practicing the art of cupping for at least three thousand years. Cupping is applied to the acupuncture points to relieve the stagnation of Qi and blood, both locally and in the organs activated by the point.
In cupping, the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians saw it as a remedy for just about every disorder.
Traditionally, naturopaths have long recognized the association between pain and conditions of congestion, stagnation and blockage. An old Chinese medical maxim states:
''Where there's stagnation, there will be pain. Remove the stagnation, and you remove the pain.''
Not only pain, but also the vast majority of all illness and disease comes from stagnation, congestion and blockage of vital energy (Qi) vital fluids, blood, phlegm and lymph. The suction applied by cupping sucks out and breaks up that congestion, stagnation, or blockage, restoring a free flow to the vital energies and humors of the organism. Actually, pain is the essence of disease. Suffering, or dis-ease, is experienced when things aren't flowing right, when there's some difficulty or obstruction to the natural flow and functioning of the body.
In addition to dispersing and breaking up stagnation and congestion in the flow of the life force, blood and other humors, cupping also disperses pathogenic heat, toxins and inflammation by bringing them to the surface for release. Pathogenic heat and toxins can fester and eat away at the organism when they're submerged and under pressure, but they find release at the surface. Cupping can even be instrumental in mitigating or relieving fevers in the acute crisis stage, and in mitigating and reducing the putrefaction of blood and other humors, a common cause of fevers.
By drawing congested energy, blood, or other humors to the surface, cupping is a form of derivation therapy. Derivation means the drawing away or diversion of vital energies or substances away from the site of blockage and obstruction in order to relieve congestion and restore health and patency to the organism.
Toxins, black bile, morbid humors and other congested offending matter can do more harm when they're deep within the organism, obstructing the functioning of the vital organs at the body's core. The organism, whenever it can, will try to peripheralize such morbid matter by sending it to the service in the form of various cysts, boils or eruptions, even though they may be unsightly. Cupping is a way of activating this process and relieving pathogenic congestion to the internal organs, thus averting or preventing more serious disorders.
By improving the circulation of blood, lymph and other vital fluids and breaking up and dispersing blockages and congestions of offending waste matter, toxins, cupping improves the eliminative functions and the evacuation of wastes from the organism. In Greek Medicine, the proper and timely evacuation of wastes from the body forms an important aspect of hygiene. Whether it be constipation, urinary retention, or even suppressed menses, the undue retention of anything that should be expelled is a major cause of morbidity and disease.
The benefits of cupping are many. On a general, systemic level, cupping improves the circulation of blood and lymph. It also regulates and improves the functioning of the autonomic nervous system.
Locally, the most obvious benefit of cupping are a relief of pain and a relaxation and increased suppleness of stiff tendons and muscles. Cupping increases the cleansing flow of lymph, while removing congested blood from the muscles. If cupping is applied to the joints, the blood flow to the joint is increased and there's an increased secretion of synovial fluid into the joint cavity.
Cupping's effect on the digestive organs is to increase their digestive secretions and enhance their peristaltic movement. Cupping can awaken the appetite, strengthen the stomach and digestion, improve the bile flow and metabolism, relieve constipation and promote regularity of the bowels.
Cupping has a dramatic detoxifying effect on the skin and circulatory system. By increasing the flow of blood and plasma through the veins and arteries, cupping enhances the cleansing and removal of toxins. This detoxification may not be observable after just one treatment, but after about three to five treatments, there will be a noticeable improvement in the colour of one's complexion.