History of Cupping Therapy
Cupping therapy has been used in China and many African countries for several thousand years. At first it was applied using
cattle horn and consequently was called 'horn therapy'. The cupping practictitioner used his mouth to physically suck the air out
from a hole at the top of the horn thus creating negative suction inside the horn. With the introduction of bamboo, earthenware
and later glass cups, fire was ignited to expel the air.
With safety in mind, the length of the horn would be the only protection afforded to the practitioner! This method is still used in
some rural developing countries for treating boils and carbuncles.
The earliest written evidence was by the ancient Egyptians and also by Chinese doctors. Cupping practise, however, was not
limited to these two cultures. Many civilizations adopted cupping as part of their 'in-house' medicine and, later, integrated cupping
practice as part of their mainstream medicine.
An African medicine man or shaman applying the technique
of cupping to a patient using animal horns. This involves One of a group of soldiers having his arm cupped. (1820)
drawing blood to the surface of the skin.
The Very Early Roots of Cupping
Prehistoric humans began their attempts to heal by following their natural impulses and used simple techniques such as rubbing
the skin, blowing on inflamed areas and oral suction, which was the ancient precursor to using instruments designed for the task.
Oral sucking - removing stings and other noxious intrusions from the body that if left unattended could have drastic consequences.
Can you remember as a child sucking your finger or thumb after it had been hit or jammed in a door to help relieve the pain?
This simple act is also a form of cupping being the application of vacuum to the skin surface for a therapeutic effect.
The founder of today's Royal Free and Royal Marsden Hospitals in London, surgeon William Marsden (1796-1867), also employed
cuppers in his Royal Free Hospital in Gray's Inn Road, London, during the 1830s. When Dr Marsden decided to open a hospital
and freely treat the poor, he enlisted surgeons and doctors who contributed their time free of charge with the exception of a paid
We can conclude that cupping therapy was indeed used in Western Hospitals from very early times, and that it was performed by
highly skilled doctors and surgeons.
The Benefits of Cupping
Increase in blood circulation, a rise of skin temperature, the promotion of skin metabolism within skin tissue, better functioning
of sweat and sebaceous glands. Strengthens the renewing power of the skin and its resistance to various harmful conditions.
Removes excess fluid and toxins.
The expansion of the blood vessels in the muscles having a remarkable effect on painful muscles, removing congested blood and also promotes the flow of lymph.
Chronic joint rheumatism responds very favourably to 'cupping therapy' increasing the blood flow within the joint, the activity and
secretion of synovial fluids. Cupping helps to realign and balance ligaments and bones.
Remarkable effects on the digestive organs- stomach, spleen and intestines. The pulling power of low pressure on the belly
stimulates the inside of the organs, their peristaltic movement and secretion of digestive fluids. These organs are affected favourably even during the treatment of the back by way of the stimulation of the spinal nerves. This therapy also strengthens
the muscles of the respiratory organs.
Cupping therapy is suitable for the treatment of pain, inflammatory conditions, diseases of the digestive, circulatory and
respiratory systems, some skin conditions eg. boils and eczema, weakness of the muscles, high blood pressure, sports injuries,
emotional conditions, the common cold and cosmetic purposes such as treating cellulite and good during weight loss programs.
Balances the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System.
This therapy may influence the compsition of blood: increasing red and white blood cells and change acid blood into alkaline
or neutral. This leads to the purification of blood.
What to expect in a treatment
The primary objective of cupping therapy is to move blood and Qi (life force), and eliminate stagnation of any kind from the body.
To achieve this there are 10 different cupping methods. I use silicone cups of different sizes and shapes.
I use the Dry Cupping technique using oil or honey for the Moving Cupping routine.
The strength of the suction used on the first treatment is very light, the client will experience a warm, pulling or stretching sensation on the skin, with no pain. When cupping is performed for the first time there will be a slight reddening or a ring mark caused by the edge of the cup at the site of the treatment. The ring or cupping mark will fade away in a few days.