Health Intuitive

Chinese Medicinal Cupping For A Variety Of Common Ailments And Illnesses

Chinese medicine utilizes various healing modalities and herbal medicine, acupuncture in Jacksonville, nutritional therapy and massage comprise the most commonly used. However, slowly gaining in popularity is a quaint form of healing called Chinese cupping therapy. Perhaps you may have seen some years back pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a backless gown with cupping spots all over her back? Sometimes, it takes a bit of tabloid press to expose people to ancient medicine techniques!

The Chinese people have used this therapeutic modality of cupping for millennia. Initially, cupping therapy practitioners used bamboo or cattle horns. To produce negative pressure within the bamboo or horn, the ancient ‘cups’ where subjected to fire or boiled in water to clear out the air and suction the cups onto the skin. The cups were mostly designed to extract blood and pus in the treatment of boils. This therapy was used originally as an ancillary procedure in ancient Chinese surgery. Afterwards, it was shown to work in the treatment of other conditions and evolved into a form of treatment of its own.

The most ancient evidence of the use of cupping was during the Han Dynasty in an ancient book called Bo Shu. A number of very old documents also talked about Chinese cupping medicine. Many centuries later, the book Su Shen Liang Fang, which was another famous medical document, described an effective way to treat chronic cough and the favorable treatment of venomous snake bites with the use of cupping therapy.

Over thousands of years of amassed clinical experience, the medical applications of cupping have evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. Today, this therapy is a valid treatment for asthma, arthritic symptoms, chronic cough, the common cold, certain skin conditions and indigestion problems.

In China, there is a saying that goes: “Cupping and acupuncture cure more than half of illnesses.” More than two centuries ago, a Chinese doctor named Shao Xue Ming, collated a book called Ben Cung Gang Mu Zhe Yi, wherein he details the origin and uses of a variety of cup shapes and cupping techniques, applications and functions.

In the Chinese mainland, the evolution of cupping therapy was relatively quick. Its medical effectiveness in the 1950’s was verified by the co-research of acupuncturists from the former Soviet Union and China, and was named an official healing modality practice in hospitals throughout China.

These days, as more and more people turn to alternative treatments to find an answer to their health conditions, the use of cupping and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine has been steadily rising. Many of the cupping methods and tools currently used are exactly the same as they were hundreds of years ago. Some mechanized or electronic pumps are now available, and vacuum cups introduced, but to a certain extent, a majority of cupping therapists today still use bamboo, horn or glass cups. This is because the cupping methods have remained the same as they were in ancient times, with the exception of a few of acupuncturists. Cupping is inexpensive and that is why it commonly practiced in poor rural areas where there is very little access to modern health care.

Cupping influences the flow of blood and Chi or vital energy. It is used to help draw out and expel pathogenic elements such as cold, wind, heat and damp in the body. It also opens the pores of the skin and moves Blood and Chi. The former facilitates the elimination of pathogens via the skin.

My first encounter with this therapy was during the time I suffered from a severe cold and my practitioner placed cups on my back. My back was first rubbed with massage oil and the cups were applied as I lay face down. I could experience the feeling of the edges of the cups sinking into my skin and then a mild heat and gentle feeling as my skin was forcibly drawn into the cups. Once there were firmly in place, my acupuncturist moved the cups up and down my back and sucking up my skin (my acupuncturist called this procedure walking cups). I was told to rest for a while the cups were affixed on my back. I felt much better once I got up from the table, the heavy sensation in my chest disappeared although I now sported purplish blue round marks on my back, much like Gwyneth Paltrow’s marks in a paparazzi shot of her wearing a backless gown with the spots clearly on her back. Those marks didn’t bother or hurt me at all. Along with my cold, the marks slowly dissipated after a few days. Cupping provided me an effective way to treat my cold and gave me relief from my cough.

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