Cupping or hijama is a treatment method used for several thousand years. It was known to ancient Egyptians and historically used throughout Asia, Mediterranean, central European and Middle Eastern countries to move Blood and Qi, to remove Cold or Heat pathogens and eliminate Heat stagnation of any kind from the body. The rationale for use of cupping is not yet fully understood but it is described as a detoxification process by which waste matter and toxins are removed.

How dose it work?

  • Glass cups are placed onto the skin after creating a partial vacuum within them. Due to the vacuum they stick to the skin where they help move Qi and Blood. They are often used in musculoskeletal conditions to help circulation.
  • The patient should experience a warm, pulling or stretching sensation on the skin, but not pain.
  • Normally there will be a slight reddening or a ring mark caused by the edge of the cup at the site of treatment. The extent of the mark depends very much on the length of treatment time and the strength of suction achieved.
  • Normally the ring or cupping mark will fade within 10 days.

Following the treatment, it is advisable to

  • Avoid alcohol, excessive eating (especially rich and greasy foods) or dieting;
  • Increase water intake by about 20% to help detoxification;

Please keep track of how you feel in the days following the treatment. Does the pain return? Is it as intense? Are the episodes as frequent? Are you able to do more or less? We would be happy to discuss your experience next time we see you.

More about cupping

One systematic literature review of 18 studies on efficacy of cupping find that  “Cupping was found to reduce neck pain in patients compared with no intervention or active control groups, or as an add-on treatment. Depending on thetype of control group, cupping was also associated with significant improvement in terms of function and qualityof life”.

Lately cupping has gained popularity with Olympic swimmers. British swimmer Adam Peaty told journalists that he uses acupuncture treatment weekly to soothe the muscle pain from his intensive training routine.

Ready to try cupping?