During cupping therapy, Yolanda Vasquez places a globe-shaped cup on your skin with the open side down. Oxygen inside the cup is removed so that a vacuum is created, which anchors the cup to your skin and pulls the skin up into the cup.
The traditional method of cupping creates a vacuum by placing a burning substance, like a cotton ball soaked in alcohol, inside the cup. The burning substance removes oxygen; then the cup is placed on your skin.
The second method uses a cup that has a valve attached to a small pump. After it's placed on your skin, the air is sucked out through the valve to create the vacuum.
Multiple cups may be used during one session. They’re left on your skin for a short time, usually about five to 10 minutes. Cupping is safe, but it may cause temporary swelling and bruising.
The traditional method, where cups are placed in one spot for a short period, is called dry cupping. Wet cupping is a second method in which the practitioner makes a small puncture in the skin so that the cup’s vacuum also draws out some blood.
Ms. Vasquez may put oil on your skin first, then place the cup on your skin and move it over the area being treated. Fast cupping is another method in which the cup is applied, then removed and moved to another location. The process is repeated several times targeting multiple areas.
Cupping therapy increases blood flow to the area pulled into the cup, which promotes healing. The treatment also helps loosen underlying connective tissues, delivering an effect similar to a deep massage that breaks up muscle knots and reduces pain.
When the cups are placed on specific meridians -- pathways that mark the flow of biological energy -- the suction helps unblock and realign the natural flow. This allows your body to make optimal use of its natural healing ability.
Cupping relieves muscle tension, increases blood flow to the area, and promotes the body’s healing response. The technique alleviates pain, such as lower back and neck pain, eases stress, and helps you relax.
Cupping may be effective for various health conditions, including acne, herpes zoster, facial paralysis, and cervical spondylosis. The benefits of cupping may increase when it’s combined with acupuncture.
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