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Acupuncture needles are not the only method we use for healing at the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey. Another ancient healing technique we use is cupping. Often cupping is combined with acupuncture in the same treatment, but can be used alone depending upon the circumstances. Cupping is basically the opposite of massage. Whereas massage and Traditional Chinese Medicine methods such as Gua Sha and Tui Na apply pressure to muscles, tendons and soft tissue, cupping uses pressure to pull the muscles, tissue and skin upward. In this way it enhances circulation, lymph drainage and removal of toxins from the body, and helps restore proper flow of the energy (life force or Qi) that governs all functions of the body.
Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. For weight loss and cellulite treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area.
This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person's asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common maladies that cupping is used to relieve. Three thousand years ago, in the earliest Chinese documentation of cupping, it was recommended for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.
Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed, although cups work well on other areas, too — particularly on fleshy sections of the body. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to 'open' these channels - the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force).
When the cups are placed on the body and suction applied, either through a gentle heating process or a suction pump, the skin is raised up into the cup. They cups can remain in place or be moved around slowly for up to 20 minutes, but generally 10 minutes is all that is needed. Cupping causes the skin raised into the cups to temporarily turn red, blue or purple, especially if there is an injury or energetic blockage under the area that was cupped. The skin discoloration can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, but is rarely painful. Once the marks have cleared, the procedure can be repeated until the condition or ailment is resolved.
Cupping is not exclusive to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Variations of this treatment were used by ancient Egyptians, North American Indians, early Greeks, and in other Asian and European countries. Cupping therapy was recommended by Hippocrates, the man whom many consider to be the "Father of Modern Medicine," in his guide to clinical treatment.
Many popular personalities have proclaimed the benefits of cupping, among them Gwenneth Paltrow, Jennifer Anniston, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Victoria Beckham and Chris Martin. Even athletes utilize it, the most recent advocates being the New York Mets.
Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be 'cupped,' thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points. To try your first cupping treatment please contact us below.
Post by Jonathan Holasek, L.Ac., Dipl.O.M.