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Overview of cupping therapy

Definition:

“Cupping Therapy is an ancient medical treatment that relies upon creating a local suction to mobilise blood flow in order to promote healing” (BCS 2008).

Brief History of Cupping Therapy

The use of Cupping Therapy is documented in the history of most great cultures and civilisations of the past with the earliest available records revealing extensive use by the ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. In the west, Cupping Therapy was part of the basic repertoire of clinical skills a doctor would be expected to understand and practice until the latter part of the Nineteenth Century with some Eastern European countries such as the Balkans and Bulgaria continuing to practice Cupping Therapy to this very day.

In parts of Western Europe there has been a recent upsurge in the interest from both public and academic perspectives. Scientific studies have began researching the effects of Cupping Therapy in an attempt to better understand the mechanisms underpinning this fascinating medical treatment that has truly withstood the test of time. Celebrity endorsements by Professional sports players (Football Players and Olympic Swimmers), leading Hollywood actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow through to Senior International Politicians such as the Turkish Foreign Minister have further raised the profile of Cupping Therapy.

Types of Cupping Therapy

Broadly speaking there are two types of Cupping Therapy; Dry Cupping and Bleeding or Wet Cupping (Controlled Medicinal Bleeding) with the latter type (Wet Cupping) being more commonly used. From the research and opinions gathered, it is acknowledged that Wet Cupping Therapy provides a more ‘curative-treatment approach’ to patient management whereas Dry Cupping Therapy appeals more to a ‘therapeutic and relaxation approach’. Of course, different practitioners and cultures will vary on their understanding and approaches.

Benefits of Cupping Therapy

Cupping Therapy has successfully been used to treat a broad range of medical conditions such as; blood disorders (anaemia, haemophilia), rheumatic diseases (arthritic joint and muscular conditions), fertility and gynaecological disorders, skin problems (eczema, acne) as well as improving general physical and psychological well-being.

Reviving the traditions