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If you’re looking for a way to shed some unwanted pounds, have you ever considered cupping?
Cupping therapy is a traditional Chinese medicine that involves placing suction cups to acupressure points on certain areas of the body.
The cupping method is a simple process whereby glass cups (or plastic) are suctioned onto specific points which decompress the muscles and connective tissue.
The suction created results in the blood vessels breaking just beneath the surface of the skin. Post treatment usually leaves bruise type marks, called cupping marks, to the area of application.
It’s become popular over recent years thanks to the many benefits it offers, not least to aid with shrinking fat cells.
What Are the Benefits Of Cupping For Weight Loss
Improved Blood Circulation
A cupping session is believed to promote blood flow to the areas where the glass or silicone cups have been applied.
When blood flow increases it’s suggested that cupping could help to facilitate the circulatory system transporting more nutrients and oxygen around the body.
This in turn promotes a better metabolic response.
Whilst this may not directly result in fat loss, when blood circulation is improved this is generally beneficial for overall health.
Breaks Down Visceral Fat
Visceral fat can build up around the internal organs.
As the use of cups reaches deep tissues, this could potentially help with breaking down this body fat allowing it to be metabolized faster.
As this type of fat is localized around your belly, the treated area for cupping would be around the abdomen.
Boosts Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system helps with the removal of toxins from your body whilst supporting your immune system.
It’s suggested that cupping may help to stimulate lymphatic flow which could help with water retention.
By removing excess water from the body could result in a lower body weight.
Muscle Relaxation and Recovery
A cupping treatment is an effective way for people seeking muscle recovery.
When applying suction to specific muscle groups, it can have the same effect as a deep-tissue massage by reducing muscle aches and stiffness.
In turn, this may help to enhance exercise performance and facilitate better physical activity, potentially supporting weight loss efforts.
Stress and emotional factors can impact weight management.
Cupping therapy is sometimes associated with relaxation and stress relief.
While no direct link between cupping and weight loss exists, reducing stress levels may indirectly support healthy eating habits, better sleep, and overall well-being, which can contribute to better weight management.
Types of Cupping Therapy
There are different types of cupping and whilst they all follow the same process of suctioning cups to the skin, there are some minor differences setting them apart.
It’s a good idea to do plenty of research on each method before committing to your first session.
In this more traditional form of cupping, cups are placed on the skin, creating a vacuum by suction. The cups are usually made from various materials such as glass, bamboo, or plastic cups.
The suction can be generated by heating the cups briefly before placing them on to the skin, or by using a handheld pump which is used to extract the air from the cups allowing them to stay in place.
Wet cupping, also known as hijama cupping therapy, involves a two-step process.
First, dry cupping is performed to create the vacuum effect to the affected area. After a few minutes, the cups are then removed, and very small incisions or punctures are made on the skin.
The cups are then re-applied which helps to draw out a small amount of blood.
Due to this technique being invasive it tends to only be undertaken by trained professionals, such as an acupuncturist.
If being used as a form of pain relief, the effects from wet cupping tend to provide immediate results when compared to dry cupping.
Fire cupping is a form of cupping that involves using fire to create suction in the cups.
The practitioner ignites an alcohol-soaked cotton ball and places it briefly inside the cup. This quickly rids the cup of oxygen and helps to create suction when placed on the skin.
The fire is not in direct contact with the skin and is only used to generate the suction.
Are There Side Effects to Cupping?
Cupping therapy is generally considered safe when performed by a trained professional, with most people reporting that they feel relaxed post treatment.
However, there are some potential side effects that you should be aware of.
One of the most common side effects of cupping is a temporary redness to the skin or bruising.
This occurs due to the suction which has been created by the cups resulting in the capillaries near the surface of the skin to rupture. This bruising and redness will typically resolve itself within a few days to a couple of weeks.
Soreness Or Discomfort
Cupping may cause temporary soreness or discomfort to the treated area.
This is often due to a pulling of the skin whilst treatment is taking place.
However, this sensation is usually mild, and any subsequent discomfort should resolve within a few days.
Fire cupping, which involves using heat to help create suction, can carry a small chance of burns if it’s not performed carefully.
It’s important to make sure that the cups are not too hot and that the practitioner is skilled in this particular cupping technique.
Dizziness Or Light-headedness
Some people may experience dizziness or light-headedness during, or post, cupping therapy.
This tends to be due to the body’s response to the suction or the release of toxins.
Following on from your treatment, it’s a good idea to rest, properly hydrate yourself, and allow time for recovery if you do suffer from these symptoms.
Infection Or Skin Damage
Although this is very rare, cupping therapy carries a small risk of infection or skin damage if proper hygiene and sterilization procedures are not followed.
This is especially true of hijama therapy where the skin is broken to allow a small release of blood during therapy. It is crucial to ensure that the cups and equipment used are clean and properly sanitized.
Whilst cupping techniques may have potential benefits in terms of relaxation, muscle recovery, and even stress reduction, it’s important to consider it as a complementary therapy and not rely solely on it for weight loss.
To achieve sustainable and long-term weight loss, it’s important to follow a well-structured exercise program and a healthy diet.
As with any alternative therapy, we recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed practitioner before undergoing any cupping treatment.
This is so that you can be sure it’s safe and appropriate for your specific circumstances and needs.