What Is Cupping Treatment? To Whom And How Is It Applied?

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What Is Cupping Treatment?

It can be explained as the technique of creating negative pressure by suction on the skin surface using a cup. It is a very old technique.

What Are The Types Of Cupping Treatment?

Two types of cupping can be performed: dry and wet cupping

In dry cupping, no blood is drawn. In wet cupping, a blood-drawing procedure is performed, which is a small surgical procedure that involves making small cuts in the skin to allow blood to flow out.

How Does Cupping Therapy Work?

The specific mechanism of action of cupping therapy in treatment is not fully understood. However, many theories have been proposed. One of them is the Taibah theory, which suggests that wet cupping therapy is similar to an artificial kidney.

The high pressure created by suction increases blood volume and capillary filtration rate in the treated area, allowing the removal of interstitial fluid and filtered fluid from the area.

The filtered fluid collected in the area contains prostaglandins and inflammatory mediators, as well as pathogens associated with the disease and causing the disease. The cuts made with a scalpel increase natural and acquired immunity by stimulating the migration of inflammatory cells and the release of endogenous opioids.

Increased blood flow, removal of toxins, restoration of neuroendocrinal balance, increased oxygen levels, and tissue perfusion are provided.

Is It Enough To Apply Cupping Treatment Alone?

Cupping therapy is a complementary treatment method. Although it has been used in the treatment of many diseases for centuries, it is not used instead of conventional treatments, it is a method applied in addition to conventional medical treatment. Research is still needed on this subject.

Where Are The Cupping Treatment Application Areas And How To Choose?

The application area is determined according to the current disease/condition. Application can be made to the area where the problem area or organ is located. Generally, areas with dense muscle tissue (such as back, chest, abdomen, and hips) are the most common areas for cupping. Areas with little muscle tissue, where cups cannot be placed, and areas with excessive hair are avoided. It can be done in the dermatomal area of the affected organ.

Where Can Cup Application Be Inconvenient?

The carpal tunnel region, armpit, anterior part of the ear, areas with dense nerves and vessels, thyroid gland, face and nasal sinus skin are critical anatomical areas.

In Which Cases Can Cupping Treatment Be Applied?

Cupping therapy can be applied to both healthy people and people suffering from an illness. Conditions such as headaches, back pain, and knee pain are among the conditions that can benefit from cupping therapy. Hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psychiatric disorders, systemic infections, and skin diseases are among the systemic diseases that can benefit from cupping therapy.

Who Should Cupping Treatment Not Be Applied?

It is not applied in cancer patients, organ failure, diseases that cause bleeding disorders such as haemophilia, pacemaker.

It is not recommended for very elderly patients, paediatric patients, pregnant women and menstruating women.

It is not applied to the area of deep vein thrombosis, open wounds or bone fractures.

Do not apply directly to nerves, arteries, veins, dilated veins, skin lesions, lymph nodes, body orifices, areas of skin inflammation.

It is not recommended in patients with chronic diseases such as known cardiovascular disease, those receiving anticoagulant therapy and in the presence of acute infection.

What Are The Materials Used In Cupping Treatment?

Cups of different sizes made of glass, ceramic, or bamboo are used. Single-use cups are preferred. The size of the cup is determined according to the area to be treated. A scalpel is used to make the cut. Manual pump, automatic pump, and fire method can be used to create negative pressure with cups.

What Are The Complications That May Occur With Cupping Treatment?

Cupping is a safe treatment. Avoidable side effects include scarring, burns, bullae, abscess, skin infection, pruritus, anaemia and panniculitis.

Koebner femonaemia, headache, dizziness, vasovagal syncope, nausea and insomnia. Infection, vasovagal syncope and scar tissue formation are more common in wet cupping. In dry cupping treatment, redness and ecchymosis may occur in that area. In case of fever, the risk of burns increases.

What Are The Conditions In Which Cupping Treatment Is Most Effective?

Cupping therapy is most effective for pain, especially musculoskeletal pain, migraine, and tension-type headache. Studies have shown that cupping therapy is effective in the treatment of lumbar sprain, scapulohumeral periarthritis, brachialgia, arthritis, and neuralgia pain. A significant reduction in pain was achieved in patients with chronic low back pain with 5 sessions of dry cupping therapy, each lasting about 8 minutes, with intervals of 3-4 days.

Wet cupping has been reported to be effective in pain associated with inflammatory conditions.

In addition to pain management, cupping therapy has also been reported to be effective in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, cough, dyspnea (breathing difficulty), and acne.

How To Determine The Level Of Benefit From Treatment In Cupping For Pain?

Acute or chronic pain can paralyze our lives. Many people who experience pain do not pay attention to the pain at a tolerable point and delay their search for treatment. When the pain becomes unbearable and disrupts daily life, the person then seeks treatment in a panic. Of course, the right thing to do is to start treatment before reaching this point. However, we do not listen to our bodies in the daily hustle and bustle and “manage” them. We never think about what the pain is trying to tell us.

Another point to keep in mind is that, when evaluating the effectiveness of pain treatment, the expectation is not the complete disappearance of pain with treatment, but the reduction of pain intensity, duration, and frequency. The first goal in the treatment of pain that hinders your daily life is to bring it down to a point where you can sustain your life.

The situation is similar in cupping therapy for pain. This is evaluated when looking at the effectiveness of the treatment.

Is One Session Enough For Cupping Treatment?

Cupping therapy is usually performed for at least three sessions. Treatment can be extended up to eight sessions. In wet cupping therapy, if the same area is to be treated again, three weeks should be waited.

For general body resistance, a total of 3 sessions of wet cupping therapy can be performed once a week.

What Should Be Done Before Cupping Treatment?

Each patient requires a detailed history and physical examination, a diagnosis, the purpose of the procedure and recent blood tests. It is not recommended if there is extreme anaemia (haemoglobin below 9.5). In hypotensive patients, it may be inconvenient as blood pressure will drop further. Sterility conditions must be observed during treatment. It is not recommended to come to the session full or after prolonged fasting.

Approximately How Long Does A Cupping Treatment Session Last?

The session lasts approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on the number of cups and the area applied. Researchers recommend that the cups should not stay on the skin for more than 5-10 minutes. The scars caused by the cups heal in 1-10 days.

What Can The Patient Feel During Cupping Treatment?

When applying wet cupping in the treatment, the pain felt during the incision is usually a pain like a fly bite. It is not expected to be a severe pain. If the patient feels nausea during the treatment, he/she should tell his/her doctor immediately. Nausea may be a sign of vasovagal syncope.

What Should Be Considered During Cupping Treatment?

It is recommended to perform the cupping treatment symmetrically, not to exceed 10 cups during the session, not to exceed 3 age cups on the head and 5 age cups on the body, and to be performed with one day intervals as there may be difficulty in walking when both knees are performed in the same session in joints carrying body weight such as the knee.

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