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Have you ever felt so much body pain that even when you have had a body massage, it still did not seem to be enough? If you have, then somebody – a friend, family member, or a masseur, perhaps – must have informed you of cupping therapy or what others call Ventosa. This therapeutic method is not a simple one and should not be done by an untrained person as it can cause more body pain if not done the right way. Additionally, cupping therapy is mainly used for treating body conditions rather than for relaxation purposes, unlike a massage.

How is Cupping Therapy Performed?

There are actually two types of cupping therapy: wet and dry. Both methods use cups that are heated with fire using either alcohol, herbs, or paper that is placed inside it. After a few minutes, the fire will be put out and the open side of the heated cup will be placed directly on your skin, which will then create a vacuum that will draw your skin and muscle upward into the cup. With dry cupping, the cup is set in place for about 5 to 10 minutes. While with wet cupping, the cups are only placed for a few minutes and will be removed immediately, and then the therapist will make a few small cuts to draw blood.

So, how did we come up with such a practice? The use of cups for therapeutic purposes is actually a matter of discussion up to this day for the reason that for the past few decades, there were irregular data regarding its origin, its definitions, the first devices used, and the actual techniques performed. Additionally, the use of cupping has been documented in early Egyptian and Chinese medical practices, as well as in the Middle East making it confusing to figure out which civilization started it, however, one thing is for sure: many ancient civilizations used cupping for therapy way back the ancient times.

History of Cupping Therapy in A Glance

The use of cupping has been performed in China for hundreds of years and was initially done using cattle horns (cross-sections of bamboo) which were either boiled in water or fire was ignited to oust the air and suck the cups onto the skin. During these times, the cups were often used to pull out pus and blood to treat boils until it was eventually found to be beneficial in treating other diseases too which led to it being formed into a special healing practice. There are a lot of Chinese medicinal books to support that cupping has always been part of ancient Chinese healing together with acupuncture.

On the other hand, on another part of the world, textual proof on cupping has been found in the works of Hippocrates. He and his supporters explored on realistic explanations of why people became ill and looked for a whole new different approach of healing. In Hippocrates’ guide to clinical treatment, he recommended cupping for the remedy for angina, menstrual irregularities, and other disorders.

The earliest pictorial record of cupping, however, was found in Egypt around the year 1500 B.C. The hieroglyphic texts were translated and it was found out that ancient Egyptians used cupping to treat fever, pain, headaches, menstrual irregularities, decreased appetites, and to stimulate the healing of a disease.

Cupping therapy, being used by different civilizations as a form of traditional medication can only mean one thing: it is effective. Unfortunately, researches that have been conducted up to this day about its effects are still weak and is believed to be needing further evaluations and studies. Among these researches, the following effects and usage of cupping therapy have been found out:

  1. One of the main reasons why cupping therapy is performed is because we need treatment of body pains. Aside from the regular ones, cupping therapy or Ventosa is a form of deep tissue massage that can reduce discomforts dramatically including neck pain and back pain and some studies (such as a research paper in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Revista Latina-Americano De Enfermagem, and a study paper in the journal BMJ Open) even found a few proofs of it. Though again, these pieces of evidence seem to be limited and further studies are encouraged to prove it better.
  1. Cupping therapy can either increase or decrease blood pressure. Wet-cupping therapy has been proven effective for reducing systolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension with no serious side effects and is recommended to be recognized as a complementary hypertension treatment. Cupping also improves blood circulation, which can ease muscle tension, improve the overall blood flow in our body, and even promote cell repair.
  1. There are also findings that conclude cupping therapy’s effectiveness in treating conditions such as herpes zoster, acne, facial paralysis, and cervical spondylitis. In addition to the aforementioned conditions, the British Cupping Society states that cupping, though no research has been made to back it up, is also being used to treat: blood disorders, rheumatic diseases, fertility disorders, eczema, anxiety, depression, bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma, and varicose veins.

Cupping therapy has a lot of benefits and is something that’s worth a try. If you are interested in getting this service, Breeze Oriental Spa and Massage has extensively trained Ventosa massage therapists in BGC, Taguig, Metro Manila who performs this practice and offers it for a very affordable price.