WHAT IS CUPPING THERAPY?
Cupping therapy is an ancient remedy which is now considered a form of “alternative medicine”. Cupping therapy is done with animal horns, glass, bamboo, porcelain, silicone or plastic cups. By creating suction on the skin, as the picture above shows, stagnant blood (no longer flowing properly) is drawn to the surface.
When using glass, bamboo, and porcelain, fire is used to vacuüm the air from the cup in order for suction to work. Although I was trained by a 3rd generation oriental medicine practitioner to do fire cupping, I only use modern mechanical plastic cups in my practice for precautionary reasons.
HISTORY OF CUPPING THERAPY
Throughout African, Middle Eastern, Greek, and Chinese cultures suction cupping therapy have been practiced for thousands of years. Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical textbooks, written in 1500 B.C. mentions the use of cupping therapy by the Egyptians. Pictures are engraved on pyramids and archaeologist have also found evidence of cupping in china that dates back to 1000 B.C.. In Greece the well-known father of medicine, Hippocrates, fellow Greek physician Herodotus wrote in 413 B.C.,
“Cupping possesses the power of evacuating offending matter from the head; of diminishing pain of the same part; of lessening inflammation; of restoring the appetite; of strengthening a weak stomach; of removing vertigo and a tendency to faint; of drawing deep-seated offending matter towards the surface; of drying up fluxions; checking hemorrhages; promoting menstrual evacuations; arresting the tendency to putrefaction in fevers; allaying rigors; accelerating and moderating the crisis of diseases; removing a propensity to somnolence; conciliating natural repose; removing heaviness. These, and many analogous maladies, are relieved by the judicious application of the Cucurbits (Cups), dry or bloody.”
Cupping therapy is to be used for preventive measures, mental, physical and spiritual well-being. In Chinese medicine cupping therapy is believed to improve Qi (energy) throughout the body. When Qi is not properly flowing it can cause chronic fatigue, headaches, inflammation and other illnesses.
DRY CUPPING VS WET CUPPING (HIJAMA)
Naturally I am biased, let me explain why. Dry cupping therapy is traditional but Hijama (in arabic means ‘sucking’ and/or to ‘draw out’) is a sunnah practice, meaning the Prophet Muhammad saws said or did it throughout his life. Dry cupping & Wet cupping both have their benefits/purposes and there is also a place and time for both.
Dry Cupping allows for the stagnant blood to come to the surface of the skin but that toxic blood is NOT removed and circulates back into the body. However, dry cupping activates the lymphatic system, releases muscular knots/adhesions, and initiates detoxing. Dry cupping can be done anywhere, anytime, by anyone and is best for prevention.
Wet cupping removes toxic blood from the body, should only be done by someone with a license to touch, have knowledge of the human anatomy, aware of sterile an aseptic procedures, is not afraid of using a surgical blade or the sight of blood. The person getting cupped should be fasting until they’re done being cupped and is done according to prophetic days unless you are in DIRE need. Wet cupping is best used for prevention, complimentary, and restorative treatment.
If you look closely at the above picture you can see that the blood collected is very thick and clotted, almost like canned cranberry sauce. Because it is concentrated from the cups, ONLY toxic waste is released by the teeny tiny punctures on the skin. The punctures are so light that they can’t be called incisions.
HADITHS ON HIJAMA by Muhammad SAWS
“Indeed the best of remedies you have is cupping (hijama).” [Sahih al-Bukhari (5371)].
“I did not pass by an angel on the night journey except that they all said to me: Upon you is cupping, O Muhammad.” [Sahih Sunan ibn Maajah (3477)].
“Whoever wants to perform cupping then let him search for the 17th, 19th and 21st day (of the Islamic, lunar month) and let none of you allow his blood to rage (boil) such that it kills him.”
“Cupping on an empty stomach* is best. In it is a cure and a blessing…” [Sahih Sunan ibn Maajah (3486 & 3487)]. (*Fast is broken after Hijama.)
“Whoever performs cupping on the 17th, 19th or 21st day then it is a cure for every disease.” [Sahih Sunan abi Dawud (3861)].
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CUPPING, CONTRAINDICATIONS, SIDE EFFECTS
Just like massage therapy, cupping therapy is very therapeutic for the mind and body. The only difference is that cupping therapy penetrates the tissue 4 inches deep compared to 1 or 1 1/2 inch by the hands of a massage therapist, resulting in greater stimulation.
***People who bleed easily, heal slowly, have open or inflamed wounds, have a disorder that involves involuntary movements, deep vein thrombosis. broken bones, and or pregnant should consider the risk of getting any form of cupping therapy. Talk with a Naturopathic physician first.***
Side effects of cupping therapy include (but not limited):
- burns and blisters from fire cupping (which I don’t use)
- light scratches (from wet cupping)
- dark circular marks (gradually disappear depending on tension and toxicity)
REQUIRED FDA DISCLAIMER
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Everything written on this site is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed physician and nothing stated on this site is intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The information obtained here is not to be used as a diagnoses, treatment, or to replace the use of medication. If you are seeking medical advice please contact a Naturopath/Doctor near you.