Have you ever wondered why celebrities show off their cupping marks? Cupping is more than an ordinary fad. It is an age-long therapeutic procedure that has continued to stand the test of time. In simple terms, the cupping therapy can be described as the act of removing toxins in the form of blood for both prophylactic (preventative) and therapeutic (curative) purposes. Sometimes referred to as scarification, it a form of bloodletting involving the use of plastic cups and a suction (collectively referred to as cupping kits) in making incisions on the skin and sucking out blood stasis.
The practice dates back to ancient Egypt and Chinese medical practice. Pertinently, the oldest medical source, Ebers Papyrus was written around 1550 B.C.E mentions that the bleeding from wet cupping helps to get rid of foreign materials from the body. These foreign materials are toxic accumulations from what we consume and breathe in; they are usually called free radicals. The duo of Hippocrates and Galen have extolled the virtues of cupping therapy. The father of Medicine himself, Avicenna wrote in support of the practice, thus making it an invaluable therapeutic practice of all time. Although various forms of cupping exist, the wet-cupping which involves bloodletting is most therapeutic.
There are more than enough reasons to try the cupping therapy. Generally, it helps to strengthen the immune system, activates blood flow around the body and gets rid of dead cells. Research has revealed that about 70% of human diseases are blood-related. New blood cells are formed after every 120 days and thus the need to eliminate the dead blood cells. Poor blood circulation in the body can lead to stiffness and numbness of certain essential body organs such as the liver, kidney, stomach, brain, and others. The liver, for instance, is responsible for the production of the needed protein for continuous growth and other life processes and cupping has been confirmed to help cure some of the most deadly liver diseases, including all types of hepatitis. The Holland-based neuro-microscopic surgeon, Dr. A. G. Jabakji says “The use of cupping as recommended is a sure-way to a holistic wellbeing and effective recovery. It helps to provide robust power and energy through an opening and purifying blood vessels within which blood precipitates forming residues on its walls which subsequently lead to a migraine, heart and liver diseases, among other ailments”.
A handful of research has shown that cupping specifically helps to effectively combat hypertension, inflammations, cancers of various kinds, splenomegalies, digestive disorders, fatigues, insomnia, acidosis, and severe headaches. The ancient medical practice benefits the heart by decreasing the level of fat (triglycerol, cholesterol) in blood to the normal range, increase blood flow through the heart and prevent them from atherosclerosis. Additionally, it has been used to treat a number of gynecological issues ranging from suppressed or irregular menses to excessive flow, hormonal imbalance, and infertility. An effective blood flow to the male genitalia is necessary for effective performance in bed and so cupping helps men become more responsible with their partner. Essentially, it has been confirmed in many parts of the world including the West, Africa, and Asia to help treat arthritis, lower back pains, anemia, depression, constipation, and obesity.
Wet-cupping is best performed in the early hours of the morning, after sunrise and before breakfast. This is because, at this time, the body is still calm and relaxed, so impurities settle at the upper part of the back. On few occasions, the person to be cupped might be required to eat foods that do not require complex digestion such as vegetables and fruits. Also, experts have advised that cupping is best performed on the 17th-21st of the lunar month owing to the effects of lunar stages on the body’s physiology. It has been observed that residues and impurities settle to the calmest part of the body at this time. In all, cupping therapy should only be performed by a qualified expert.
Credit: Yusuf Olatunji, a naturopath and alternative medicine practitioner