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Cupping Therapy Toronto

Cupping therapy is one the most popular family/community therapies in Chinese folks medicine. The seniors in families or villages often use cupping to help family and community members to relieve their pain, stomach issues or deal with cold and coughs.

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What is cupping therapy and its history?

Cupping therapy does not only belong to Chinese medicine, it has been practiced across the globe throughout human history. There are documents and illustrations in ancient Egypt, Greek, Arab and Asia that mention cupping as a medical tool to relieve pain and many ailments. (1)

How does cupping therapy work?

“This therapy is believed to act by correcting imbalances in the internal bio field, such as by restoring the flow of “Qi (氣qì)”. Cupping involves applying a heated cup to generate a partial vacuum that mobilizes the blood flow and promotes effective healing.” (1)

Cupping therapy works on many different levels to the body. By applying a partially vacuumed cup onto the skin, it creates a negative pressure on the area of the skin, causing the tissues underneath are “sucked” into the cup, this process triggers many physiological activities.

Blood and lymphatic circulation
During the cupping session, blood and lymphatic circulation are forced flush into the cupping area due to the mechanical pressure created by the cupping, along with blood cells and lymphatic cells, which create a focal immune/healing process on the capillary level that can help inflammation control, tissue healing and the removal of the toxicity.

Tissue adhesion
Our daily activity constantly create micro damages to our body. simultaneously, the body is also trying to repair the damage that has been done. Typically, Chronically repetitive activities, such as occupational activities, bad postures, sport etc. can put this damage-healing process out of balance and start to produce unhealthy scar tissue, deposits, tissue adhesion. Over time, this unhealthy process can result in muscle tension, stiffness, pain, restriction of circulation, and decrease of muscle strength and range of motion.
The negative pressure that cupping therapy creates can break down the adhesion in the deep tissues, improve the circulation to the tissue cells for healing the removal of toxinx, thus it can reduce the discomforts and limitations,and improve the health of the tissues.

Regulate Organ function
This is unique to Chinese medicine. According to channel and organ theory in Chinese medicine, dozens of channel and hundreds of points across our skin are linked to the internal organs. By applying certain stimulation to certain points and channels, it can have a therapeutic effect on the internal system. This principal applies any physical/manual manipulations such as cupping, acupressure, acupuncture.

Dry cupping vs wet cupping

Dry cupping is the most used method in the West. It only involves suction on the skin with or without movement of the cups.
Wet cupping is another lesser-know and practiced technique. It involves both suction and “controlled bleeding” to achieve therapeutic effect.

What conditions does cupping therapy treat?

Most people use cupping therapy for pain management. From my experience, it can also help internal conditions such as digestive and reproductive issues, especially combined with acupuncture and other Chinese medicine therapies.
It can be used to treat specific problems such as shoulder injury, back pain; it can be also used for maintaining general health and organ function.
In Chinese medicine, the concept of “Qi stagnation” are related to both physical stress and mental stress, by releasing the physical stress through cupping, it can also have a positive effect on our psychological well being.

According to Cleveland clinic(2), cupping therapy may help:

  • Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Back pain, neck pain, knee pain and shoulder pain.
  • Breathing problems, such as asthma.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel disease (IBD).
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • High blood pressure

How much does cupping therapy cost?

At Kampo Health, we use plastic cups which are easy and safe to apply various cupping techniques. Usually cupping therapy can be performed alone or integrated into acupuncture or massage therapy. A single cupping session costs $75.

Is cupping therapy safe?

Cupping therapy is a rather low-rish therapy. But you still may experience:

  • Burning from the fire cupping. (This is one of the reason I do not use fire cupping.)
  • Fatigue
  • Headache and nausea
  • Itchy skin or skin infection
  • Bruise

Most of these side-effects can be minimized by carefully assessment and application by licensed therapists.

Who should be cautious about getting cupping therapy

People with bleeding and clotting disorder should avoid getting cupping therapy.
If you are pregnant, or have severe anemia, chronic fatigue issues, you should be cautious of getting cupping therapy. We suggest you talk to your doctors about whether you can benefit from getting cupping therapy.

Reference:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488563/
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16554-cupping#procedure-details