It is easy for people who don’t understand non-conventional types of medical treatment to dismiss or ignore them, but some of them are not only useful, but effective. Complementary and integrative approaches to treating patients with some non-standard methods can work with other traditional methods. Cupping therapy, for example, is a type of alternative therapy that has been around for thousands of years. Studies show it still has applications to help people today. Let’s look at what the treatment is like by showing you what cupping is, how it can help you, and how it works.
Residents of the Houston and Spring, Texas, areas looking for ways to get relief from pain can find it with Drs. Billy Cheong, Kesia Broome, and the skilled medical team at Elite Spine and Health Center. We offer personalized solutions for your pain relief, including a variety of traditional and integrative approaches to help you feel better.
What is cupping?
Cupping is the name of a form of therapy that uses cups to create suction on your skin and produce numerous pain relief benefits. Traditional practices of this method in places like China explains its effectiveness by controlling the life force energy (or qi) in your body to produce medicinal benefits. However, the scientific research from studies in 2018 reveals this practice creates an increase of blood circulation in the areas targeted by the cups to promote a number of health benefits.
How does it help?
Research in 2019 has offered numerous explanations for how cupping offers relief, including the altering of pain signaling, using counter irritation to reduce pain, using nitric oxide to increase circulation, stimulating your immune system with local inflammation, and decreasing uric acid. Regardless of which method is the effective one for relief, cupping therapy is used to:
- Promote blood flow in your skin
- Increase pain thresholds
- Reduce inflammation
- Boost immunity
- Improve local anaerobic metabolism (creating energy by combusting carbohydrates without the presence of oxygen)
This is used to treat back pain, shoulder pain, headaches, migraines, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment can also involve using acupuncture needles, the burning of mugwort leaves (moxibustion), laser therapy, water, herbs, and electrical stimulation.
What is the treatment like?
What you can expect during treatment will depend on what kind of cupping therapy you recieve:
With this procedure, the cups are heated (often with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball) and the heat is used to expel oxygen to create a vacuum. When the cups are placed on you (often your back, chests, abdomen, buttocks, and legs) the vacuum sucks the skin into the cup.
This method is similar to dry cupping, but with wet cupping your skin is punctured (either before or after the cups are placed) to help release toxins from your body.
In both cases, the process lasts up to 10 minutes and you are likely to leave the session with redness and light bruising. You may also experience dizziness shortly after the treatment. Any discoloration or marks from the therapy should clear within a week’s time.
Cupping therapy is a time honored method to help people with pain, but some may want to avoid using it, including those with bleeding disorders, blood clotting problems, some skin conditions (like psoriasis and eczema) and people prone to seizures.
If you’re ready to try cupping therapy to relieve pain, contact Drs. Cheong, Broome, and the Elite Spine and Health Center today to get started.