Cupping therapy is an ancient traditional Chinese form of medicinal practice used to treat numerous medical conditions in the past. It is one of the oldest medical practices mentioned in the books of middle eastern and Egyptian countries. Cupping therapy involved the use of pressure and suction by using special cups on the affected areas. The practitioner puts a cap on the affected area of the skin which then creates suction and pulls out the toxins against the person’s skin. The suction enhances the blood flow and extracts the impurities from the neighboring tissues or organs reaching the surface of the body for elimination. Nowadays it is being used for various other purposes like improving blood flow, relaxation, help ease pain and inflammation, or merely just as a form of deep-tissue massage. The cups used in this procedure are usually made of glass, bamboo, or earthenware. With time This method also became popular as hijama or vacuum cupping.

Cupping therapy or simply cupping can be of two types- dry and wet. Dry cupping is simply performed using the cups and pump thus creating a suction to draw out the blood and fluids from the affected area of the skin. It can be performed at any time for a duration of about 10-12 minutes to relieve the tensions of any body parts. Wet cupping or hijama, involves making small scratches on the surface of the skin with a sterile blade around 3-4 minutes after the dry cupping procedure. Cupping is then re-applied for suction and the pressure difference created results in the extraction of a small amount of blood. It is important to know that wet cupping is best to perform an empty stomach and any form of intensive physical exercise is often recommended to be avoided after the treatment. However, one thing that is common in both the cupping procedures is the use of a flammable substance like alcohol or paper inside the cup that is set to fire. As soon as the fire goes out, the cup is placed on the skin. This can be scientifically explained as the cooling of the cup after getting hot due to the fire and putting down on the skin creates the pressure difference and vacuum which causes the skin to redden and rise which expands your blood vessels for an effective treatment.

With evolving methods and technology, cupping therapy has shown various benefits to its consumers ranging from reduced pain and inflammation to improved blood flow. It is increasingly being used to treat blood disorders like anemia and skin problems like acne. Besides medical treatment, it has also gained huge popularity as a form of massage for relaxation and strengthening the immune system improving the healing process of the body.

However, alongside any such treatments are its associated side effects. Although cupping is an ancient therapy and is considered low-risk, it might result in dizziness or nausea in some people. Various other physical side effects like skin burns, bruising, itching, or irritation are also known. Since not much has been scientifically researching on this therapy, there are chances that various other side effects might not be known. However, one should avoid trying therapy on areas with deep cuts or injuries, as there are chances that it might result in skin infections or worsening of the wound.

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