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Cupping Therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted Oct 22 2009 7:38pm

 Cupping or cupping therapy is one of the common method for Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat diseases. Let us talk on a number of related issues about cupping.

Under the guidance of traditional Chinese medicine theory, cupping treatment utilizes the cup and fire to form a negative pressure and warming effect as to stimulate both the acupoints and the meridians. This stimulation helps the vital energy,  qi  to flow smoothly, while warming skins and hair, and nourishing the internal organs,  Five Zang Six Fu OrgansFive Zang  organs,  refer to the liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys.  Six Fu, organs are made up of gall bladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, bladder and triple burner. The same time, this also stimulates the weaken internal organs, smoothen the meridians. It also adjust the  Yin Yang  balanced of a body, as to tune the qi and blood. This helps to achieve the purpose of fitness and avoiding sicknesses.

1.  Cupping Therapy according to the theoretical basis of  Traditional Chinese Medicine

A disease is formed because of the pathogenic factors that cause the body’s  Yin Yang  leaning towards strong or decline; disorder of the body’s functional activities of Qi; and dysfunctions for all the internal organs, vital energy  qi, and blood system.

 The most common pathogenic factor is the “Six Climatic Evils”, that includes the wind, cold, summer, heat, dampness, dryness, and fire. These evils flow in body through the acupoints and the meridians, causing the disorder of the functional activities of  Qi; the detention of evils at the internal organs ( Five Zang Six Fu  organs); and the obstruction of channels. All these eventually lead to all sorts of disease.

The evils harm human body, begins from skin. As in << HuangDi NeiJing – The Arise of All Sorts of Diseases >>, “The pathogenic evils or other external factors that cause human to fall sick, all begins from the skin”. When evils invade into human body, and was not given treatment on time, the pathogenic evils will spread and change, following a sequence. The state of illness also changes from light to heavy. And, the sequence of pathogenic evils invasion begins from skin – muscle – channels – four limbs – internal organs,  Five Zang Liu Fu  organs. Cupping therapy utilizes the heated cup to produce negative pressure and warming effect on the acupoints. This stimulate the acupoints and the meridians, as to unblock the  qi  and  blood  of the meridians; and to regulate the functions of the internal organs. This helps to achieve the purpose of diseases prevention and treatment.

2. The Indications of Cupping

Cupping therapy being one of the method for Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a disease, it has a wide range of application. Well, I can say that vast majority of the diseases that can treat by acupuncture and  TuiNa  massage, can be also be treated by cupping therapy. When acupuncture and cupping therapy are applied closely together on treating a disease, it gives good efficiency. For most of the clinical usage of cupping therapy, it is on the treatment for common cold, flu, skin diseases (such as urticaria), bruises, joint pain and so on.

3. The Specific Application of Cupping Therapy

It seems like cupping therapy is very simple, just warm up the cup and then put it on a patient’s body. But in fact, it is full of knowledges and skills. It is not just that simple as putting the warmed cup on a body. Diffferent acupoints are being choose based on different sicknesses. When cupping therapy works together with other methods of treatment, it gives very good results.

Let me give you some examples for you to understand more about it.

(i) Common Cold

For Traditional Chinese Medicine, common cold is caused by affection of exogenous wind-cold and affection of exogenous wind-heat. It usually has symptoms like  fever, cold, chill, stuffy nose, runny nose, cough, body aches and others. When carry out cupping therapy for patient with common cold, it emphasizes on the acupoints of ‘ Foot - TaiYang Bladder Meridian ‘. It means that the warmed cups are being place on the acupoints along this meridian, together with  DaZhui acupoint  and some others acupoints. It gives good result, that patient recovers very fast. After the cupping therapy, it is a normal phenomenon to have itchness at the cupping points. This is due to the efflux of wind evils.

(ii) Urticaria 

It is caused by affection of exogenous wind evils or efflux of endogenous wind evils. If cupping at  ShenJue acupoint  ,  FeiShu acupoint  , combine with bloodletting at  WeiZhong acupoint  , and acucupping at  TianShu acupoint , it generally relieves itchness with only one treatment.

(iii) Bruises

Often when there is bruise, that injured area will become swollen. This is caused by local congestion. Cupping can increase the blood circulationa and fasten the metabolism, as to reduce the swollen part. The effect is even better and faster with bloodletting at certain part. One of my patient had a swollen foot for few days after she felt from staircase. I gave the same treatment on her swollen foot. Immediately, her foot became less swollen and less pain.

To conclude, cupping therapy is a simple and effective way of treatment.If it is used properly, it can have the same effect as in treating diseases.



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