It’s no longer a secret that many people worldwide are using cupping for weight loss and other fat-related disorders. This alternative therapy is applied as part of specific body treatments.
It is quite ancient and originated in China, although it was also known and used by the Egyptians.
Its followers claim that hijama therapy, another name for cupping, stimulates the body’s energy (chi or qi). They also believe that it balances yin and yang, thereby helping the body to fight disease.
Today, this technique has become quite widespread in the Western hemisphere. Thus, it is not unusual to see athletes (like Michael Phelps) and many other people with unmistakable marks left by cupping, denoting that they use it to complement approaches to various problems.
In this article, we will learn a little more about this practice. Stay tuned!
Cupping for weight loss: Why it may help
Traditional hijama therapy (cupping) uses heat to produce suction when applied to the body. These gadgets are like small vials that fit nicely in the palm.
To achieve the heat, the therapist can use several methods: heating the cup with a metal rod and then applying it to the back or inserting a rod with a lit cotton ball at one end into the cup before placing it on the skin.
The cupping cups cool down quickly after being heated by the flame, which causes the suction effect when applied to the body.
They are placed on certain areas of the body (most often on the back, but also on legs and arms) and left to act for a while.
The principle behind this method is that cupping acts by unblocking the chi and stimulating circulation, thus reducing discomfort. This promotes weight loss, as it helps to restore stomach function and reduce appetite.
An added effect of this therapy is stress reduction, which makes the patient feel less tempted to overeat.
Hijama therapy types
These therapies can be of various kinds, depending on the techniques used and the purposes sought.
Although heat is applied in all of them, one form or another depends on what the therapist recommends.
Fixed or dry cupping
They call it this because the cupping is kept fixed at the point of application without using any additional substance.
It is applied or attached to the back or shoulders, for example, and left there for several minutes.
This is done to treat reflex points. It is one of the most used and is the one that produces those dark circles that we observe in those who use it.
This is usually done on the back. In this case, the suction cup is slid along the skin, producing a massaging effect. For this, some oil or body lotion is applied.
The movement stimulates blood and lymph circulation. In this way, tension is reduced, and back pain and muscle spasms favor eliminating toxins, according to therapists.
Cupping application and extraction
In this modality, the hot suction cup is applied to the skin and removed immediately or after a few seconds, with a suction effect.
It is done only on the back and is said to help deal with excess mucus. However, it may also be indicated to treat mild muscle contractions.
The cupping is applied to the skin for a few minutes and then removed, proceeding to make a cut or incision in the area to make a small amount of blood come out.
It is considered that this practice helps to decongest and reduce swelling in the area, promoting circulation. Good for cellulite.
A variation of this technique is the scarified cupping, in which incisions are made beforehand, and then the cupping is applied. This is supposed to drain the inflammatory focus directly and eliminate compression and accumulated toxins.
A more recent version of this millenary technique consists of air suction inside the cup, eliminating heat. In this way, the patient is less affected in terms of side effects.
Hijama therapy process
Cupping is a process in which, as mentioned before, heat is applied to the skin using oils. However, it must be done carefully, taking the necessary measures.
If you want to enhance your cupping for weight loss purposes, you can use special essential oils. Read more…
Before applying hijama therapy, either with cupping or any other complementary natural or alternative medicine technique, you should first talk to your doctor.
It is also important to know if the person applying the therapy is a professional.
On the day of the therapy, you should try to be relaxed, not have been drinking or under the effect of any substance, or have eaten a large meal.
And, of course, you must follow all the therapist’s instructions.
The therapist first heats the cup in the fire using an alcohol burner, a lit paper, or some other technique. Then, the “mouth” of the hot cup is applied directly to the person’s skin.
As the air inside the cup cools, a vacuum effect is created that tightens and sucks the skin upward. There may be a slight sensation of pain and also redness of the area.
Depending on the type of technique, the cup is held in place for several minutes. And, if it is the case, a small incision or cut will be made, which will also generate a stinging sensation.
After removing the cup, the therapist may apply some ointment or place bandages to prevent wound infections.
For a few days, the person will have marks and experience some discomfort. However, it is assured that this disappears after one or two weeks.
Cupping for weight loss and other benefits
Traditional medicine attributes to cupping great efficacy in treating pain and inflammation and the elimination of toxins.
Therefore, it is applied when there are pain and muscle contractions to relax and reduce tension.
Even for varicose veins. In terms of pain, it is proposed as a treatment for facial paralysis and fibromyalgia.
Many athletes resort to cupping massage. It would help them recover as soon as possible, mitigating joint pain and muscle problems resulting from intense physical activity.
On the other hand, hijama therapy (cupping) is also used as part of aesthetic treatments. It is claimed to help eliminate toxins, oxygenating tissues, combating flaccidity, and activating elastin, as well as collagen.
During or after a session, various side effects may be experienced, among which the following are worth mentioning:
- Redness and skin irritation with bruising
- Pain at the incision site
- Sweating, nausea and dizziness
- Skin burns
- Wound infection
For all these reasons and possible complications, cupping should not be done in areas with wounds, burns, skin ulcers, or any injury or trauma.
On the other hand, it is not recommended for certain groups, such as the following:
- Children under 4 years of age
- Older adults
- Pregnant or menstruating women
- Patients with bleeding disorders and people undergoing treatment with anticoagulants
The classic round purple spots are a consequence of the technique.
Is cupping a scientifically based technique?
In a certain sense, it is based on principles that are not foreign to Western medicine. Indeed, by increasing blood flow to the affected tissue, it stimulates natural responses for recovery.
It has not been possible to certify all the virtues attributed to it scientifically. A few studies conducted in 2012 found that much of the research done on the subject had a high level of bias.
Another study reached a similar conclusion: there is underestimation or omission of evidence in research on acupuncture, cupping, and other alternative therapies. Thus, cupping is not recommended as a first-line treatment.
However, some publications state that there is a certainty that dry cupping can help reduce musculoskeletal pain and that it is a non-invasive and low-risk therapeutic modality.
As with any other alternative therapy, if you choose to try it, consider it as a complementary remedy and not as a substitute for treatment. Also, consult a physician and make sure you are not in one of the risk groups.