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What is Cupping Therapy?

cupping therapy Did you notice along with many other viewers of the 2016 Olympics the welts that decorated Michael Phelps upper back and shoulders? Many viewers along with the media were enthralled by the red circles that looked to be the size of tennis balls. Those welts came about because of a cupping a technique used by physical therapists to invigorate blood flow to specific areas of the body. Thanks to Michael Phelps, this therapy has become trendy, however the practice has been around dating back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures.

History of Cupping

Cupping is a method of healing developed over time. This form of healing began with hollowed out horns of an animal that would siphon any toxins that came from snake bites or skin lesions. It evolved from animal horns to bamboo cups that were then eventually replaced by glass. There are records dating back to 28 AD that shows the Chinese believe that acupuncture and cupping would cure half the ills of life.  The Chinese deeply believed that cupping was a way of providing a defense for a body’s immune system.

The Egypitians also employed the cupping practice and used it for vertigo, menstruation, fever, pain, weakened appetite and imbalances. The practice became widespread from Egypt throughout the centuries than moved in to Europe and eventually to America.

Methods of Cupping Therapy

Even though cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine, the practice continues to be improved and implemented. The different kinds of cupping therapy are:

  • Wet
  • Dry

At our physical therapy office in Layton, we perform the dry cupping method. We use alcohol because of its level of flammability and get a small flame on the glass cup. As the flame burns out we put the cup on your skin upside down as to induce suction to your skin as the air inside the cup cools. Your body will react to this and your skin will become red and will rise because your blood vessels are espanding. In our practice, we leave the cup standing in place for 3 minutes.

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