Article originally published on eHealthWire.
August 10th 2016
At least two centuries ago, people in ancient Middle Eastern, Asian – particularly Chinese – civilizations began using cupping as a way of relieving pain in the back and shoulders.
Cupping involves placing warmed, round, glass suction cups on the sore regions of a person’s body. The cups create a vacuum against the skin, stimulating the skin, as well as the muscles and blood flow beneath the surface. All of this works to relieve pain.
In traditional Chinese medicine – where cupping is most commonly attributed – people also believed this treatment helped restore the life force, “qi,” within the body.
The practice has continued over the course of the past 2,000 years. Now, it is prescribed as treatment for everything from shingles, facial paralysis, and coughs to pain, particularly that in the lower back.
There are a variety of ways cupping can be performed: with cups of different materials, or wet or dry. Dry cupping with glass cups is the most common method employed today.
Wet cupping follows the same procedure, but after the cups are removed, the practitioner also makes a tiny incision in the skin to draw out a small amount of blood. This method is believed to rid the body of harmful toxins and substances and encourage faster healing.
Contemporary scientists have conducted studies on the different variations of cupping treatment method in hopes of determining its efficacy. The study has been published and revealed that, yes, cupping did offer greater pain relief than did other pain treatment methods.
Some scientists have been wary of accepting the results of this particular study, saying that the subject sample size was relatively small.
However, when a treatment method is promoted and employed by Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps, it becomes hard to doubt its efficacy.
Watch Phelps undergo cupping treatment here: