Cupping therapy comes from ancient China and has been used for thousands of years. As one of the oldest forms of Chinese medicine, cupping has helped people manage pain and cleanse their bodies from toxins. In recent years even athletes and celebrities have been seen with round marks on their backs, which often appear after cupping therapy.
It’s understandable for some people to wonder if cupping therapy is safe. With very few and rare exceptions which we’ll go over, Cupping therapy is generally seen as a safe form of alternative medicine.
How does Cupping Work?
As the name suggests, cupping therapy uses cups placed on the skin, then whether by a pump or fire, a vacuum is formed in the cup. The negative pressure pulls and stretches the skin, fascia, and muscle tissue into the cup. Following this, the body may respond by increasing blood circulation in the treated area. Good blood circulation is very important when it comes to recovery. The improved blood circulation brings fresh oxygenated blood that can replace the stagnated blood that was there before. This can help reduce inflammation and accelerate your body’s ability to recover naturally.
Does Cupping have any Drawbacks?
The main drawback patients report are the round marks. Though often mistaken for bruises, the round marks don’t hurt when touched like bruises. These marks are more akin to a hickey, as the cup does create a good amount of suction force.
Although side effects are rare, some patients have reported that cupping therapy has made them feel nauseous, while others report sweating or dizziness. Depending on the sensitivity of the patient’s skin, they may feel mild soreness in the treated area and a small amount of pain. In most patients, this pain is not noticeable, and there is a feeling of relaxation instead of pain.
What are Those Marks?
As previously stated, the round marks are caused by the suction on the surface of the skin. These marks are temporary and often fade away after some time, depending on the mark itself. Although some may find them unsightly, the round marks can be useful. The color of the marks ranges from pale pink up to dark purple. The intensity of the mark’s color can indicate how your treatment is going. Often the darker the mark signifies severe stagnation, and that area should be focused on.
The discoloration is temporary, and light red or pink marks will often fade after a day or so. Red, dark red, and purple marks may take longer to heal. Depending on the severity, some of the darker marks can take up to two weeks to completely fade away.
Who Should Avoid Cupping?
While cupping is considered generally safe and viable for many people to help with recovery, patients with certain conditions should avoid cupping. These include:
- Kidney failure
- Liver Disease
- Heart Disease
It’s best practice to let the therapist know if you suffer from any of these conditions, as our goal is to help you recover. If you are taking blood thinners or are pregnant, consider talking with your primary care provider before starting a cupping therapy program.
Cupping is relatively safe as long as you go to a trained health professional. But you could have these side effects in the area where the cups touch your skin:
Take the Next Step In Improving Your Health by Contacting SOHMA Integrative Medicine
Our goal is to help you improve your health. You can reach out to us and ask about the Myers Cocktail, IV Therapy, Chiropractic care, or how our other health service lines can help you with your journey to improved health.
Located in Long Beach, CA, we help individuals from the surrounding cities.
We look forward to helping you take the next step in your journey to better health.