While the Chinese healing method of cupping has been around for more than 2000 years, it is becoming more well known in the Western world as well.
Cupping is used to reduce and alleviate pain, decrease tension, improve skin health and work towards overall better health in general. It has become more prominent as professional athletes use it to enhance and speed up the pace of their recovery after a training session or game.
Cupping therapy is a process that puts small cups on the back and creates suction. The cups can be glass or silicone and there are different sets for different cupping processes.
These cups are used to create a vacuum through the use of heat or an air pump. Once the cups are placed on the back and the vacuum created, they then stay attached for a length of time that can range from 5-20 minutes. Some therapy sessions will include using cups to slide over the back while using the suction. When the cups are taken off, there are circular marks left.
Traditional Chinese medicine says that the darker the circular marks are when the cups are removed, the more toxic and stale energy you had in that particular area. These marks will disappear in 3-10 days.
The Premise of Cupping Therapy
The original technique of cupping that was developed in Chinese medicine used animal horns. They were used to drain pus and other toxins from the body. It then began to be used to also get rid of stagnant energy which is also called “chi”.
Doing this made sure the natural flow of energy was restored in the body. This was seen as important because if Chi is stagnant then that means there is poor blood circulation and lymphatic fluids. The vacuum cupping is used to draw those toxins that are slowing the Chi out of the body and enhance healing.
Cupping will break the stagnant energy and release the fascia along with tight muscles that are tense on the bones. When this happens then new blood goes into that area and restores the proper functioning of cells.
Western healing has often used pressure in massage therapy to loosen tight muscles and restore blood flow, cupping does this as well but in an opposite way. It brings the muscles away from the body through suction rather than pushing them down as massage does. However, both methods release them and restore blood flow.
When cupping is done, the pulling of muscles away from the body created space in the layers of tissue in the body. It enhances the ability for fluid to go into the tissue so healing can happen, and mobility is improved. You will notice when you finish a session of cupping therapy, there is a satisfying feeling similar to the one that happens after a deep tissue massage.
Overall, the goal of cupping is to remove toxins, stimulate blood flow and chi to help with inflammation, stress, immunity, digestive problems and poor energy just to name a few.
Buying the Right Set of Cups
Before you buy a cupping set, there are some things to consider. You want the best cupping set for your purposes and that may differ from other users.
- Wet Cupping or Dry Cupping – If you buy a set that lets you do cupping with or without oil that is helpful. Sometimes you will want to use them with oil so they can glide along the skin to improve circulation as well as doing a reverse massage that works on the muscles and fascia. This cupping shouldn’t leave marks so make sure the cups were chosen work with both. Some don’t.
- Suction – The whole point of effective cupping therapy is to use suction so it must be a critical factor in the cup set you purchase. The right set will have good suction that is not hard to get or maintain. The suction might feel uncomfortable at first, but it should never hurt. However, it also has to be strong enough that it will leave marks.
- Durability – You don’t want to waste money on cups that are going to fail quickly. Durability is important so you don’t have to keep buying new sets. Make sure the set you are going to buy is made of quality material and can withstand the test of time.
- Easy to Use – There is no point in purchasing a cupping set that is not easy to use. If they are too much of a hassle to use on your own, then chances are you won’t use them as they should be. You want a set that you don’t need to rely on someone else to help with.
Best Cupping Therapy Sets
At one time you would have to go to someone who specialized in cupping to have it done. While you can still do that, there are cupping sets that you can buy so you can do the treatment in the comfort of your own home. Here are some great sets to choose from:
1. Edge Cupping Therapy Set
This cupping therapy set is made of silicone and comes with different size cups for various body areas. They are easy to use by simply pressing them on. The suction does not need heat or pumps.
They are user-friendly, exceptionally durable and there is no chance of breakage like glass cups. They are great when you want to alleviate day to day aches and pains. This set is loved by beginners, but some say that the silicone doesn’t offer enough suction compared to glass cups, but others counteract that comment and say they leave marks in just a few minutes. Overall, as a beginner set the ease of use is a big win as you learn to do cupping.
2. Kangzhu Biomagnetic Set
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This is an interesting cupping set. It is low in price and comes with biomagnetic as well. It is made up of plastic cups that come with a hand pump to build the suction. It is a good set if you want to give cupping therapy a try without spending a lot of money. If you like it then you can upgrade your set when you are ready.
The materials in this set are not as sturdy as in the more expensive sets. The valves are not durable over a long period. It works but is not designed to last for a long time. The cups come in various sizes and offer biomagnetic therapy which other sets don’t. The magnetic needles are meant to pull the toxins to the surface and then expel them. You can remove the needles if you don’t want them in. this is a good beginner set overall but not designed for long-term heavy use.
3. Professional Cupping Therapy Set
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While many people are focused on the mid-body when doing cupping, this set can also be used on the face as well. It has small facial cups that are designed to reduce wrinkles and age spots. They are used to restore blood flow and optimize skin health both on the body and the face. It is a great set as it comes with 18 cups and a carry case to keep them safe.
The cups are constructed of Polycarbonate plastic which is an improvement over those that are made of Polystyrene. They can take a lot of pressure and will not crack. The set comes with two hand pumps along with a manual to help the user begin. The bonus of this set is that you can get replacement cups if any in the set break. It is professional, high-quality and can be stored properly in the carrying case.
4. 12pcs Thick Glass Cupping Therapy Set
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This cupping therapy set has been designed in the style of traditional Chinese medicine. It is a 12 pc set that includes an alcohol burner, gua sha tool as well as tweezers. While many sets on the market have an altered design from the traditional product, these are the real things. You will need to use fire to get the suction started and the therapy is intense.
While it takes a little more work to use these cups, their therapy is highly effective. It will treat pain and other physical concerns that may be present. It takes work to learn how to create suction with a flame but once you can do it then you will love it. Traditional cupping therapy is one that you will always want to do once you have done it.
5. Cupping Warehouse Set
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This set comes with 8 various-sized cups that are made of silicone. They are durable and simple to use as well as clean. They can be used with oil if you want to have them glide on the skin. They are a little more on the expensive side, but they are good quality and will last.
They are not as easy to put on as some sets but are certainly ones that are easier to use once you have the hang of them. There is no hand pump to take the air out so it’s a little more awkward than some to remove. Overall a good quality set that will last for a long time so worth the money.
6. Bliss Complete Cupping Set
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While many sets are designed for cupping on the back area, this one has been created to focus on the face and a spa-like treatment. 4 cups can be used on your face to help the complexion as well as fight aging. 2 cups are small in design compared to the other cups and have been engineered to use around the eyes.
Another 2 are larger and can be used on the larger areas of the face. Suction is made by squeezing. Most often people do gliding on the skin with these cups. Using a nice face lotion or oil help this go smoothly. If you are looking to have a more authentic Chinese therapy experience, then this isn’t the best set to use. However, if looking to work on the facial area then it is perfect.
When choosing the right cupping set for home use, you need to keep in mind there are safety precautions to be aware of. The sets are not suited to everyone and should be assessed on induvial preferences and design. Be mindful of the style of cupping therapy you’re doing as if it’s fire and glass then obviously you need a second person and a set that is designed to work that way.
Cupping is a safe therapy, but it never hurts to have a professional do it the first time, so you know how you react to it. It is also important to talk to your doctor before starting it to make sure there are no issues with medication, skin conditions, or pre-existing health conditions.
Cupping therapy is a natural therapy that can help with pain and stress. It can be done by a professional or you can try it at home. While it’s an odd-looking therapy and can even look scary when it comes to process and outcomes, the results will be pleasing.
The cupping therapy can loosen muscles, offer myofascial release, and feels rejuvenating for the body when done. If you have ever had a good deep tissue massage or have used a foam roller after a workout or game, then you will enjoy having cupping therapy done.
Once you start doing cupping you should notice a change in your muscles and general well-being. The release of toxins and stress along with making sure energy is not stagnating will all improve the feeling of physical and mental well-being.
In a time where busy lives, stressful jobs, and family times add to our physical distress, choosing cups that you can use at home means easy access to an ancient traditional Chinese therapy that can help alleviate all those problems that arise in our lives.