Have You Heard of Cupping Therapy? Here's Everything You Need to Know

blissful woman receiving cupping therapy

Cupping Therapy, also known as “pulling up jars” in Chinese medicine, has been part of ancient cultures for thousands of years. It is believed that by creating small vacuums on the skin, we can remove stagnation, encourage blood flow and allow the body to heal and regenerate. 

Now this therapy has made a comeback thanks to showbiz and sports personalities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Micheal Phelps, who proudly display the tell-tale red circles across their backs. 

But cupping therapy is not just reserved for the rich and famous. As this ancient technique becomes popular with the stars, more and more clinics are offering this treatment. So I decided to give it a try.

As a journalist I spend many hours hunched over my laptop and as a result suffer from intermittent neck and shoulder pain which I try to remedy via a weekly massage at my local gym. It does help, but my relief only lasts for a couple of days and by the time the weekend rolls around the pain can be quite excruciating. 

While riding the train to work last week I came across an article about cupping therapy that piqued my interest. The reviews stated that it felt similar to a massage with the effects lasting a couple of weeks or more--and in some cases, pain and tightness can disappear altogether. This sounded too good to be true and I immediately booked an appointment for the following weekend to see for myself.

I arrived at the clinic a little nervous and not really sure what to expect. A kind woman greeted me; I advised her about my neck and shoulder pain and she agreed that we could focus more on these areas. 

I lay down on my front with a towel around my waist and she rubbed essential oils into my skin. I was feeling relaxed already. She then heated 10 small glass jars and placed them one by one down both sides of my back. I was expecting it to feel uncomfortable but it was quite the opposite. I felt my skin warming and tightening and I really started to feel my blood flowing under my skin. 

She explained how as the cups cooled down they created a vacuum which in turn sucked the skin into the cups and encouraged blood flow from deep tissue to dislodge stagnation and congestion and invigorate the body. I must admit it felt amazing. After 10 minutes she removed the cups and I was told to lie and relax for a while.

I left the clinic feeling incredible. I was told to drink plenty of water to help flush the dislodged toxins from my body and not to worry about the red circles across my back (which made me feel like an A-lister), as they would fade in around 5-7 days.

It was a truly awesome experience. I already have my next session booked, and am hoping another few sessions and I will be pain-free. 

It seems there is a place in modern medicine for these ancient therapies.

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