When I first learnt about cupping I was at college. It was the pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow and her bruised back. I remember thinking that she must have been either crazy or a genius who had knowledge I did not! For my next positivity experiment I had decided to engage in self-care. When stressed I tend to feel it in my neck, shoulders and lower back. I wanted to see if an alternative treatment might be effective. After deliberation I decided to try wet cupping, however I was still very nervous.
What is cupping therapy?
Cupping is an ancient alternative therapy where suction ‘cups’ made out of a variety of materials are placed on the skin. The suction cups are heated and placed on the skin which pulls blood to the area causing a large purplish bruise. This apparently stimulates healing and stretches out the muscles creating new blood flow. This is especially relevant as new blood flow is full of anti-inflammatory chemicals which helps heal the body. Cupping seems like it is alternative in the western world, but is regularly used in Chinese hospitals. There are many reasons to try cupping, here are three outlined below:
Cupping can help many medical conditions
Firstly, studies into cupping have shown some short term evidence of cupping’s benefits. A Beijing University of Chinese Medicine review showed a positive short term effect of cupping to relieve pain intensity. Furthermore the University showed evidence that cupping can relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and is effective in treating herpes zoster. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3151529/)
It can help ease your headaches or migraines
Another reason is that wet cupping can actually reduce the severity of headaches. The Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences in Iran conducted a study that showed these benefits. Wet cupping was tested on 70 patients with chronic migraines. This treatment continued for three months. At the end of this period headache severity had reduced by 66%. The participants even had fewer headaches. 12.6 fewer days of headaches per month. (http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0192415X08005564)
My experience of Hijama wet cupping – (WARNING – Photos of blood below)
I chose Hijama wet cupping. The therapist makes small incisions before the suction cup is applied. This sucks the stagnant blood into the cups and releases toxins. New blood is forced into the areas around the cups, and develops new blood vessels. These new vessels help feed your tissue with nutrients and oxygen, re-energising your body. I laid on my front with my therapist looking at areas of stiffness in my back and shoulders. She made small cuts in may back and neck before applying the cuts. It literally felt like little pin pricks and did not hurt at all. Then she applied the suction cups. The only way I can describe how it feels is that someone is pinching you. Most of them felt like gentle pinches until she got to my neck and shoulders. This one was a painful pinch but it fades after a few minutes. The therapist showed me the blood that was coming out and applied more cups to areas that needed attention.
Afterwards I felt amazing! I was a little dizzy but my mind was clear and I felt energised and positive. In fact I felt amazing for the next 24 hours. After this point my muscles started to feel quite sore, but to be fair they don’t get enough exercise so this could be a factor! Even with this I would definitely try this again. I went to the Banyan Tree Wellness Centre in Burnley Lancashire to have this done, you can find them on their website www.thebanyanwellnesscentre.com or on facebook or twitter