Placing cups on the body for medical treatment? Yup, that’s a thing! At first glance, it may seem far-fetched, still it enjoys a tradition of thousands of years that spans multiple continents and cultures.
Cupping therapy as employed by Licensed Acupuncturists in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the application of glass cups via manufactured suction to specific points and regions of the body. The therapeutic effect is induced by the suction action. In TCM jargon, we say this releases the exterior. If there is a pathogen that has found its way in to the body, well surely we ought to show it the way out. What do you do to uninvited guests wreaking havoc in your home? You kick them out, and fast!
As the surface of the body is freed, the meridians and vessels are opened up greatly for blood and Qi to flow unimpeded. This allows warmth and fresh nutrition to flood places that were once stagnant. The power of cupping has depth as well. Drawing toxins and removing blockages from caverns of the body, new energy with healing substances enter to promote recovery and rejuvenative abilities.
TCM is a multimodal medical system. Cupping therapy is one of many medical interventions born from the theories established in TCM. When performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist, cupping therapy is a highly effective approach to treatment. All the studies that validate the power of cupping therapy had experienced, practicing Licensed Acupuncturists perform the therapy.
In 2012, the National Institutes of Health in part funded a systematic review and meta-analysis of cupping therapy. The authors state, “the results of this systematic review suggest that cupping therapy appears to be effective for various diseases/conditions,” and when combined with other TCM modalities or routine western medicine will “enhance efficacy” of the overall treatment.