Most people always hope to lose weight naturally without having to go on restrictive diets that would prevent them from enjoying the food they like. If you’ve tried dieting and workout programs with little to no success, you might want to explore cupping for weight loss.
While it is more commonly known as a therapeutic treatment, there are however benefits of cupping for weight loss. The practice of cupping dates back to ancient Middle Eastern, Egyptian, and Chinese cultures using cups to be placed over your skin for ailments.
Today, cupping has become an increasingly popular kind of alternative therapy treatment not only for its relaxing experience but also because of its potential weight loss outcome.
What Is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping therapy is a type of conventional Chinese medicine that has found widespread application in numerous therapeutic settings. The general definition of cupping therapy is a method that suctions negative pressure onto the skin using cups that are placed over the skin. It has been practiced all across the world since the ancient period and mostly used for easing back pain, neck pain, headaches and other problems.
There are many techniques to perform cupping. Depending on your preference, practitioners place the cups on any region of the body as long as there is a seal between the skin and cup and is generally more suited to larger areas of muscles.
These techniques include dry cupping which is a simple one-step procedure. Another is the traditional wet cupping where it’s a two-step process that begins with superficial skin scarification and ends with cupping. Al-hijamah, an Arabic cupping therapy, is a wet cupping treatment that involves three steps: cupping, superficial scarification, and cupping.
Researchers advise leaving cups on the skin for no more than 5-10 minutes. The leftover cupping marks fade away in 1-10 days.
There are three methods for creating the necessary negative pressure in the cups: manual pumping, automatic pumping, and the fire method. The most common way for dry cupping is to create a suction with fire, which is the major method employed in China. The fire method involves rinsing a glass cup with methylated spirits before lighting it and placing it over the right anatomical spot on the skin.
Honey is used in Al-hijamah wet cupping to set the cups and for scarification, which aids in healing.
Warming cups with a flame is the first step in cupping therapy. This creates a vacuum, which exerts suction when applied to your skin. The suction loosens connective tissue, allowing new blood to flow into the area. The cup is heated with fire or manually pumped to create suction. The cups are then placed on your body for some time.
This suction force causes microscopic blood vessels (capillaries) under the skin to enlarge and rupture. Your body perceives the cupping region as an injury that must be healed. It provides more blood to the damaged area to hasten the natural healing process.
Different Types Of Cupping Therapy
There are 4 different ways that cupping is commonly used by a cupping therapist. This can sometimes depend on your presenting condition.
Cupping procedures may come in the form of:
- Classic Cupping – This is otherwise known as fire cupping and it means placing the cup over an acupuncture point along an energy meridian or an ashi (painful area) point.
- Wet Cupping – This entails softly puncturing the skin with a needle to allow blood to flow into the cup.
- Air Cupping – An alternative to fire cupping, using a handheld suction pump air is removed from the cups which creates a vacuum without heat.
- Sliding Cups – The sliding cup technique is typically used to treat pain and muscular spasms in the big back muscle groups. Before placing the cups, the skin is covered in massage oil, which makes it easier for the cups to move across the skin’s surface.
Cupping Therapy On Weight Loss
There are numerous solutions available to people who desire to lose weight. The most typical recommendation is to adjust your food, decrease your portions, and get more exercise, which is all wonderful advice.
However, the reason cupping has grown in popularity as an alternative therapeutic treatment in recent years is because of its incredible weight loss effects.
Cupping for weight reduction after doing a workout has been shown to be beneficial for relieving muscle soreness1. This gives you a better chance of success than simply depending on willpower alone.
Cupping therapy relaxes connective tissue and dilates capillaries, allowing oxygenated blood to flow into the application region. This promotes cell development and repair while also increasing metabolic rate. Concurrently, applying the technique enables disposal of toxins and restores lymphatic circulation2.
Your lymphatic system’s role in weight loss is absorbing digestive fat from the small intestine and transporting it through the bloodstream where it can be used as energy or remove it as waste.
Benefits Of Cupping For Weight Loss
When fat causes cellulite, gradually it can harden into lumps-shaped forms beneath the skin and cannot be eliminated by just a massage. Cupping therapy loosens connective tissue, that is underneath the skin and surrounding fat cells, and triggers a fat-burning process3.
Cupping proponents assert that the procedure has a wide range of advantages. It is primarily thought to enhance muscle repair and restoration. In other words, this therapy has a lot of potential weight loss benefits.
- Reduce Fat Deposits
- The persistent deposits of fat beneath your thighs, upper arms, and waist can also be effectively targeted with cupping. Cupping has an impact on your deep tissues, which means it can more effectively target visceral fat. By way of the lymphatic system, the fats are broken down and eliminated.
- Full Body Toning
- Cupping therapy encourages weight loss and total-body toning by activating acupoints and guiding them down lymphatic pathways. Your circulatory system gets the energy it needs from these specific acupoints to break down body fat, especially fat in troubled areas and fat around internal organs.
- The removal of toxins and extra fluids that are contributing to or aggravating your weight issues might be made easier with improved circulation.
- Remove Stagnant Blood
- The removal of blood stagnation with cupping enhances metabolism. The tissue is made loose and the blood that has become sluggish is cleared by cupping the right meridian channels. Your metabolism is then brought back to its earlier, more effective state.
- Cups are not placed at random on your skin. According to their objectives, practitioners position the cups on carefully chosen acupressure spots throughout our meridian channels.
- Removal of Toxins
- Cupping effectively removes toxins from the body by activating specific pressure points on the body. Your metabolic health will improve as pollutants are removed. According to a research4, getting rid of toxins can help you lose weight.
- Improves Blood Circulation
- Cupping’s advantages for weight loss can also be attributed to their effects on blood circulation5. The transport of metabolites inside your body can be aided by an effective circulatory system, which is beneficial for the quickest fat burning process.
- Additionally, this blood flow aids in the removal of waste and unhealthy fat cells from your body.
- Regulates Hormonal Changes
- Aside from improvements of blood flow from the negative pressure created from cupping, it also releases hormones which can help stimulate the healing process. There is even a study on cupping being a potential treatment method for infertility6.
- Cupping has benefits beyond just losing weight. Similar to a deep tissue massage, cupping therapy helps your body release tension both physically and emotionally. Since cupping gives you a feeling of relaxation, it helps with hormonal imbalance in the body which is necessary for your emotional well-being. In addition, endorphins regulate mood and lessen anxiety, which is a side effect of probable weight gain.
- Hacking Acupressure Points
- Practitioners place the cups on specially selected acupressure sites along your meridian channels, depending on your goals. These channels are where our acupressure sites are placed, and each one corresponds to a distinct biological function. By placing a cup on an acupressure point, practitioners can target or “hack” that function. This can have a wide range of benefits for your metabolism, digestive system, respiratory system, and other systems.
Side Effects Of Cupping
The cups are likely to leave noticeable, round marks on your skin after your cupping session. Within a week of treatment, these innocuous markings will lessen until disappearing completely. Regular cupping treatments should result in lighter markings that fade faster.
Cupping’s most prevalent negative effects include bruising and skin discomfort. Both are likely to heal on their own within a week or two. Infection is also a possibility. To assist in lessening this risk, the practitioner or therapist may send you home with an antibiotic ointment and bandage after a session.
Cupping Aftercare Advices
Cupping aftercare is essential for reaping the most benefits from cupping. It is vital that you adhere to these after-care guidelines.
- You may feel weary after cupping or have flu-like symptoms (headache or general body aches). Cupping aids in the release of cellular waste, therefore this is a transient immunological reaction.
- By flushing your lymphatic system, water aids in the clearance of cellular waste from your tissues. That is why, following cupping, you should be sufficiently hydrated.
- Try to cover the area(s) where you had cupping and keep them warm. Since cupping opens your pores, your body may be vulnerable to attack from outside influences like wind and cold.
Cupping is done by licensed medical practitioners. Cupping can be performed by acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, doctors, and physical therapists.
You may opt to include a nutritionist who can provide you with further information regarding cupping that could aid in weight loss. Also, aside from cupping, you might also like to discuss the meal plan that is beneficial for weight reduction.
No one can deny the benefits of appropriate nutrition and physical activity when it comes to losing weight. Techniques such as cupping, in addition to correct nutrition regimens for weight loss, can aid in this respect.
With the numerous benefits presented that advocate cupping for weight loss, ranging from improved digestion to the removal of toxins, it is well worth giving it a try. It is vitally important, however, that you should consult with your particular healthcare practitioner before making a choice about your health and consult a professional or a specialist for proper cupping procedures.
1 Hou X, Wang X, Griffin L, Liao F, Peters J, Jan YK. Immediate and Delayed Effects of Cupping Therapy on Reducing Neuromuscular Fatigue. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2021 Jul 1;9:678153. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2021.678153. PMID: 34277583; PMCID: PMC8280458.
2 Al-Bedah AMN, Elsubai IS, Qureshi NA, Aboushanab TS, Ali GIM, El-Olemy AT, Khalil AAH, Khalil MKM, Alqaed MS. The medical perspective of cupping therapy: Effects and mechanisms of action. J Tradit Complement Med. 2018 Apr 30;9(2):90-97. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2018.03.003. PMID: 30963043; PMCID: PMC6435947.
4 Jung SJ, Kim WL, Park BH, Lee SO, Chae SW. Effect of toxic trace element detoxification, body fat reduction following four-week intake of the Wellnessup diet: a three-arm, randomized clinical trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2020 Jun 22;17:47. doi: 10.1186/s12986-020-00465-9. PMID: 32582363; PMCID: PMC7310262.
5 Abdullah M.N. Al-Bedah, Ibrahim S. Elsubai, Naseem Akhtar Qureshi, Tamer Shaban Aboushanab, Gazzaffi I.M. Ali, Ahmed Tawfik El-Olemy, Asim A.H. Khalil, Mohamed K.M. Khalil, Meshari Saleh Alqaed, The medical perspective of cupping therapy: Effects and mechanisms of action, Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Volume 9, Issue 2, 2019, Pages 90-97, ISSN 2225-4110, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2018.03.003.
6 Wang JX, Yang Y, Song Y, Ma LX. Positive Effect of Acupuncture and Cupping in Infertility Treatment. Med Acupunct. 2018 Apr 1;30(2):96-99. doi: 10.1089/acu.2017.1265. PMID: 29682150; PMCID: PMC5908423.