Cupping therapy is an ancient form of therapy in which a local suction is created on the skin. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, theEbers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C. Practitioners believe cupping therapy mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. The cups can be made of a variety of natural materials such as glass, bamboo and earthenware.
There are various types of cupping therapy, including:
Dry cupping (suction only)
Wet cupping (combination of suction and controlled medicinal bleeding)
During both types of cupping, a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper is placed in a cup and set on fire. As the fire goes out, the cup is placed upside down on the patient's skin.
As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for five to 10 minutes.
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