In case you’ve been considering getting cupping therapy for a medical or aesthetic issue, one of the first concerns you’ll likely have is the safety factor. You’ll want to know about any possible side effects and if you can develop complications after getting the treatment. Rest assured that this healing modality is absolutely safe to use when taken from a certified practitioner. Such therapists will take all the necessary precautions including checking with you for contraindications and maintaining the most sterile of conditions for providing therapy.
You can choose to perform dry cupping therapy on yourself using simple tools that are not likely to cause any side effects or after effects. Typically, such sets also come with an instruction booklet that can guide you on the best points to place the cups.
Contraindications for Cupping Therapy
While cupping therapy is very safe, your therapist may choose not to give you treatment under certain conditions. When you come in for a consultation, your therapist will ask you questions to rule out medical issues such as:
- Pregnancy and menstruation
- Skin conditions like dermatoses, skin allergies, injuries, and lesions
- Conditions of uncontrolled bleeding like in hemophilia, leukemia, and blood spots on the skin caused by allergies
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease or failure
- Slipped disc
- Varicose veins, among others
Getting Dry Cupping
Cupping therapy involves placing cups in the skin at strategic points according to the therapist’s knowledge of the meridians of the body. By causing suction in the cups, the healer can promote the flow of blood to the affected site so that repair and regeneration of the tissues is stimulated. Originally, therapists would place a burning object in the cup to heat it and then remove it quickly before placing the cups on the body. This technique could potentially cause burns on the skin.
However, in present times, healers use rubber or medical grade silicone cups. The transparent silicone cups help in more ways than one. Here’s why:
- Silicone allows the therapist to monitor the condition of the skin during the session.
- The flexible nature of the cups makes it possible to give massage cupping if needed.
- It is also possible to squeeze the cups to create vacuum in smaller sections like on the forehead and cheeks to provide therapy.
- Sterilizing silicone is also a lot easier and more effective.
To create vacuum in the cup, modern day healers may opt to use cupping sets that have a pump attached to the bottom. After placing the cups on the treatment area, the practitioner can cause suction by pumping out the air thus, making the treatment absolutely safe.
Getting Wet Cupping
Wet cupping is a variation of cupping therapy that involves making minute cuts in the skin to allow the toxins and poisons in the blood to exit the body. If you opt for wet cupping, your therapist will place the suctioned cups for a few minutes until the skin rises in it and redness starts to appear. In some cases, blisters might also appear. With your go-ahead, she will prick the blisters or use a scalpel to make cuts. Some healers also choose to scrape the skin a little. Next, a fresh cup is placed on the same area and suction is caused so that the toxins are removed.
To protect you from possible infections, your therapist will take care to use only sterilized materials along with masks and gloves. Later, the treated area is carefully cleaned and dressed with antiseptic ointment and bandages. Typically, the wounds heal within a maximum of 10 days leaving behind no scars.
Getting Cupping with Acupuncture
Some therapists may also opt to combine acupuncture with cupping therapy. Both healing modalities are based on the Chinese principles of meridians and the life energy or “qi” that flows through them. To begin with, the healer inserts acupuncture needles with precision in the affected area. Next, he places cups on the area with the needles and causes suction. The dual effects of the stimulation with needles and suction can make the treatment more effective.
To make sure that there is no possibility of skin infections, your therapist will use only new and sterile needles along with sterilized cups to provide the therapy.
After Effects of Cupping Therapy
During the cupping session, you’re very likely to notice some amount of stretching and tightness of the skin in the treatment area. Skin infections after a cupping session are very rare, but you can expect to have some after effects. Depending on the severity of your medical condition, your skin may develop bruises. If you have the tendency to bruise easily, you might notice darker marks. To manage the redness, your therapist may choose to apply ice on the area. In most cases, the marks disappear within a few days.
Working with a Trained Therapist
When looking for a healer who can perform therapy on you, make sure that he or she has extensive experience, necessary certification, and follows the mandatory guidelines laid down by the licensing authorities. Ask questions for gathering complete information about the procedure before you sign up. Looking for testimonials of past patients that have successfully taken the therapy is another smart move.
Kiefer, David. MD. “Cupping Therapy.” WebMD. 10 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.
Axe, Josh. Dr. “Cupping Therapy: Alternative Medicine for Pain, Immunity & Digestion.” Dr. Axe Food is Medicine. n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.
“Contraindications for Cupping.” International Cupping Therapy Association. n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.
Marcin, Ashley. “What Is Cupping Therapy?” HealthLine. 14 Apr. 2016. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.