April showers bring May flowers…and sneezes. Tree, grass, and pollen allergies run rampant in the spring months, leaving us more likely to be found in the pharmacy aisle than the great outdoors. Fortunately, a complementary form of Chinese medicine called “cupping” can help combat allergies, support detoxification, and boost immunity.
what is it?
Cupping is a form of non-invasive acupuncture that involves placing a cup along meridian pathways and specific areas of the body. This method creates a strong suction which increases circulation, draws out toxins, and generally improves qi (energy) flow.
Allergy-specific cupping sessions typically treat:
- Sinus issues
- Excessive coughing
- Excessive sneezing
In addition, cupping is reported to boost immunity, which may help you avoid coughs, colds, and allergies altogether!
how does it work?
During a typical cupping session, a sterilized glass cup is heated up, then placed directly against the skin. The cup starts to create a vacuum, pulling the skin up as the steam cools. For allergy relief, cups are generally placed on and around the lung area, as this helps draw out toxins, remove stagnant energy, and clear out phlegm and other blockages that affect breathing. The lungs are simultaneously soothed and stimulated, as this method increases blood flow and oxygen to the area for rapid healing and recovery.
The cups can be left for 10-20 minutes in one place, or moved around the body. Patients usually find this to be a relaxing experience, similar to massage. Areas of the body that have an excessive amount of qi tend to bruise or discolor, which may surprise those who are new to the practice. Rest assured that this is a very natural response to the treatment, and is nothing to be concerned about.
types of cupping:
Common types of cupping include:
- Dry cupping: This popular method relies on heat, or an attached air pump, to rapidly suction the skin.
- Fire cupping: As its name suggests, fire cupping involves heating the cups with a “flash” of fire (initiated with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball).
- Water cupping: This technique involves partially filling the cupping containers with water, and is considered to be particularly beneficial for bronchial conditions.
Studies on cupping effectiveness are few and far in between, but there have been legitimate studies that conclude that cupping therapy is likely to be more effective when combined with other treatments. Although cupping can be used as a standalone treatment, it’s usually considered to be complementary to acupuncture. Acupuncturists may opt to combine the two methods by inserting a needle and placing a cup over it, which alleviates pain rapidly, and enhances the overall treatment.
Root Acupuncturist, Jon Conant highly recommends cupping as an effective immune system booster to combat spring allergies.
Call us at (503) 288 – 7668 to learn more or to schedule your appointment with Jon.