Among all the benefits of cupping therapy and the many ailments it can heal, the most interesting is possibly using cupping therapy to promote weight loss. Excess weight is based on many factors such as a sluggish metabolism, stress, hormone imbalances, excessive intake of unhealthy food with low nutritional value and inadequate exercise. All of which can be caused by stagnate qi, or energy, within the body.
Cupping and its Targets
Cupping therapy can cause the free movement of the qi in the patient’s body by creating suction on specific points where the qi might stagnate, thus promoting weight loss. The cupping therapist might apply suction using cups of different sizes on 20 to 30 points on the front of the body such as the torso, arms and legs.
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In this way, the 14 meridians of the body are targeted for stimulation such as the pericardium, Sanjiao, small and large intestines, Dai, gall bladder, liver, heart, lungs, spleen, stomach, kidney and Ren.
Silicone Massage Cupping
A common practice therapists might use massage or gliding cupping by creating suction and then moving the cup over the skin of the problem area. This type of cupping is usually done by silicone cups due to the ease of moving them across the skin and the benefit of not using a flame or pump based cupping set. This is a very popular and relaxing treatment as it combines the benefits of a massage and cupping therapy.
Hijama Cupping Points for Weight Loss
Another effective form of therapy is Hijama which is the Islamic form of wet cupping where the blisters or welts arising from suction are opened using a lancet. Next using another suction cup, a small amount of toxic blood and fluids are drawn from the skin to further remove blockages in the flow of healing energy of the body. For more information you may be interested in our comparison of wet and dry cupping, or our detailed description of the many different cupping techniques.
Using this chart of Hijama points, the recommended cupping points for weight loss are points 1, 55, 9, 10, 120, 49 and in particular any areas of desired weight loss. Daily massage cupping (using silicone cups as discussed previously) over the area of desired weight loss is recommended.
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Reasons for Weight Gain
Chinese cupping and medicinal practices believe that weight gain and obesity are caused when the liver and spleen do not function optimally. The spleen controls the movements of the digestive system, directs the digestion of food and conversion of food and fluids into energy or “qi.”
The spleen then directs this energy to all the parts of the body. When the spleen malfunctions, the qi stagnates and a condition called dampness or fat is created leading to weight gain.
The patient also experiences feeling of heaviness, water retention, slowed metabolism and fatigue. In addition, stress can cause the liver to imbalance leading to food cravings and uncontrolled eating. Luckily, cupping therapy can actually help in controlling weight gain.
Results of Cupping
Proper stimulation from cupping therapy can result in the release of stress and anxiety, eliminate water retention, remove toxins from the body, stimulate the digestive system, control food cravings, promote effective metabolism and bowel movements. All these factors when combined lead to weight loss in the patient’s body.
Therapy sessions have shown to be very effective and patients have reported steady weight loss in each session. Though, the amount of actual weight loss could vary from patient to patient and on the initial weight. Thus the therapist recommends the number of sessions and their duration as per individual patient needs.
Patients also receive a diet plan that includes healthy, balanced and nutritious food which if they follow, they can maintain weight loss on a long term basis. Some therapists might also prescribe the intake of approved Chinese herbs that assist in elevating metabolism levels and eliminating water retention and food cravings. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture may also be also be used as supplementary treatments to cupping therapy.