Cupping therapy is a traditional Chinese practice that people use to treat a variety of conditions.
It involves placing cups at certain points on a person’s skin. A practitioner creates suction in the cups, which pulls against a person’s skin.
Cupping can either be dry or wet. Wet cupping involves puncturing the skin before starting the suction, which removes some of the person’s blood during the procedure.
Cupping typically leaves round bruises on a person’s skin, where their blood vessels burst after exposure to the procedure’s suction effects.
Does it work?
Person having cupping therapy applied to back.
Cupping therapy may help increase or decrease blood flow.
According to a study paper in the journal PLoS One, cupping practitioners claim that it works by creating hyperemia or hemostasis around a person’s skin. This means that it either increases or decreases a person’s blood flow under the cups.
Cupping also has links to acupoints on a person’s body, which are central to the practice of acupuncture.
Many doctors consider cupping therapy a complementary therapy, which means that many do not recognize it as part of Western medicine. This does not mean that it is not effective, however.
Complementary therapies with supporting research may be an addition to Western medicine. However, as the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) note, there is not yet enough high-quality research to prove cupping’s effectiveness.
Scientists have linked cupping therapy with a variety of health benefits, although there needs to be more research to determine whether it is effective as a treatment.
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