Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy that helps to regulate the flow of energy and blood. Suction is usually created over the painful area on the body by introducing fire into a cup and placing the cup on the desired point. The amount of suction can be regulated according to the treatment and the age of the patient. Cupping is even more effective when used in conjunction with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Cupping is said to help improve circulation and “to ‘open’ the lungs, draw toxins out of them and towards the skin surface and to facilitate better breathing,” writes “Heart Disease” author Burton Goldberg. More in line with ancient Chinese philosophy, cupping “is believed to draw out Cold, Wind, and Damp,” writes Michael Castleman in “Blended Medicine.” Cupping can be effective for a wide range of ailments, including edema, swellings, asthma, bronchitis, dull aches and pains, arthritis, abdominal pain, stomachache, indigestion, headache, low back pain, painful menstruation, coughs from excessive mucus and places where bodily movement is limited and painful.
(Chinese: ??; pinyin: gu? sh?), literally “to scrape away fever” in Chinese (more loosely, “to scrape away disease by allowing the disease to escape as sandy-looking objects through the skin”), is an ancient medical treatment.
Gua sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. Commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon was used, or a well-worn coin, even honed animal bones, water buffalo horn, or jade. A simple metal cap with a rounded edge is commonly used.
In classical Chinese practice, the gua sha technique is most commonly used to:
- Reduce fever (the technique was used to treat cholera).
- Treat fatigue caused by exposure to heat (often used to treat heat stroke) or cold.
- A cough and dyspnea: bronchitis, asthma, emphysema.
- Treat muscle and tendon injuries.
- Push sluggish circulation, fibromyalgia.
- Treat a headache.
- Treat sunstrokes/heat syncope and nausea.
- Treat stiffness, pain, immobility.
- Treat digestive disorders.
- Treat urinary, gynecological disorders.
- To assist with reactions to food poisoning.
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