In recent years, cupping therapy has gained in popularity. One of the reasons for this is due to its beneficial effects on weight loss and fat loss. So, what is cupping therapy? Cupping therapy involves the placement of a glass jar on the skin resulting in a suction action. Its benefits include improved circulation, stimulation of the meridians that connect to internal organs (these produce healing effects), the removal of toxins, and stress release.
Cupping therapy follows the meridian points in the same way as acupuncture and acupressure. When it is applied to different areas of the body, it can produce a therapeutic effect to treat various conditions. This includes:
- Common Cold
- and much more
As we grow older, coupled with unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. poor diet, sleep deficiency, and too much stress), the circulatory system, energy level, and digestive system weakens. This can be the cause of poor blood circulation or blood stasis, and a sluggish metabolism which interferes with forming the dampness toxin that will be accumulated in the fat cells and between the connective tissues.
The stagnating blood and dampness toxin affects the delivery of fresh blood to cells, tissue, and organs. Over time, it weakens the organs’ function and leads to metabolism inefficiency. People start to gain weight, accumulate fat, retain water.
When it comes to weight loss, most of us want to lose the belly fat or slim our arms and thighs. Fat accumulation and sagging skin are the main reasons that cause a big belly. It also causes thick and flappy arms and broad hips and thighs. Increased fat particles and fat volume, as well as loose skin, easily target these areas of the body.
Cupping therapy loosens connective tissue, that is underneath the skin and surrounding fat cells, and triggers a fat burning process. It opens capillaries, improves blood circulation, and allows newly oxygenated blood flow to the area of application. It helps cells grow, repairs, and speeds up the metabolism, flushes the body’s waste (stagnated blood, dampness toxin and ruptured fat cells) through the lymphatic system. With proper exercise, cupping therapy can also help tighten sagging skin.
Cupping can affect deep tissue up to 3-4 inches beneath the skin. When cupping therapy is applied for weight or fat loss, it can even remove the fat around the internal organs.
Possible side effects
- Leaving distinctive circular marks on the skin. These marks are a useful indicator of how severe the stagnation is in the body. The darker the mark, the more stagnation is present. These harmless marks will fade between a few hours to one week depending on how severe the stagnation is. After a few sessions of treatment, the dark mark will get light and fade quicker.
- Skin blisters may occur. They are a sign of over accumulated fluids (dampness toxin) in the tissue. The blister will be absorbed by our body simultaneously. It could take between a few days and 1-2 week for the blisters to disappear.
- Burns can occur, but this rarely happens.
Who should avoid cupping therapy?
Any person with bleeding disorders, skin conditions (such as edema or skin rash), an ulcer and anyone who is taking blood thinners should avoid cupping therapy. Women who are planning their pregnancy and pregnant women should avoid cupping on the abdomen.
How often should cupping therapy be applied?
If after a cupping therapy treatment there is no blister and circle marks disappear in few hours, cupping can be applied twice a week. Each session will last from 5 to 15 minutes depending on individual.
If a skin blister is present, or the circle mark is very dark in color, cupping will be applied until those blisters are absorbed and the dark marks are faded.
How soon will results appear?
It varies from one individual to another. Cupping does not provide immediately results like other weight loss treatments. On average, after 10 treatments, people can notice a reduction in the targeted area.
A healthy diet and proper exercise are required for weight loss during the cupping therapy.
Please refer to my weight loss article.
For most patients, especially in the beginning treatment phase, I recommend acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment along with cupping therapy. The treatments not only target fat loss, but also improve overall health so that we will live a happier, longer, and better life.
By Feng Liang, L.Ac.