22 May 2014

Cupping for Weight Loss: My First Experience with Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is an ancient medical practice that has been used in China for thousands of years. There are many health benefits of cupping therapy you may never knew, including weight loss.

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss

Circulation is the process of bringing blood, oxygen and hormones to and from cells in the body to nourish it and help to fight diseases, and stabilize body temperature and pH. Poor blood circulation can develop a variety of health problems such as headaches, feeling tired much of the time, feeling short of breath at times, swelling and water retention - especially in the feet, etc. Poor blood circulation caused by a lack of proper nutrition, and acid toxins within the body.  Cupping is not only an excellent natural remedy to relieve muscle pain, practitioners believe this is also an effective way to clear your body of toxins, stimulates energy, relieve constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and encourage healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow can help you lose weight by encourage nutrients in your body supplied to your muscles in a more efficient manner.

But when I decided to try cupping therapy, weight loss is not my motive. I did this to alleviate headaches. When I first heard about cupping therapy, I was a bit hesitant just like most of people who are afraid of the sight of blood but I decided to give it a go anyway. Nothing to be scared actually. The process isn't painful and quickly goes.

WARNING!!! May contain some disturbing images to some readers.

There are two types of cupping: dry cupping and wet cupping (controlled bleeding). Wet cupping is significantly more effective according to the practitioner. Cupping used are plastic or glass to replace the horn, pottery, bronze and bamboo cups used in earlier times. The cups can be various shapes. RM20 per cup.

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Cups used during my cupping session. Made of glass with an extension at the top to accommodate a rubber squeeze ball which when squeeze and released pulls air, followed by skin up into the vacant area.

The cupping therapy process
Step 1 - Massage
The practitioner massage my skin for 2 minutes to find out which points are painful and tender, and especially which points are the tenderest. It's where she will place the cups.

Step 2 -  Air cupping
Massage oil applied to create a better seal as well as allow the cups to glide over muscle groups. I had it done five on  my shoulder and one on my head. I had my hair shaved at the cupping area. My husband was like, why on the head? The trigger points that cause headaches are somewhere at the shoulders area and you can try cupping at that particular area, he merely says. Not necessarily on the head. The practitioner suggested me doing cupping on the head because I told her I need a pain relief from a headache. So I thought why not if it could stop a throbbing headache. Hair grows, anyway. The shaved area on my head can't be seen after some hair trick. So it's not a big deal for me.

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Shaved area on my head
bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
The hubs: He got an arm dislocation in a car accident he involved in
not long time ago. He always complained about stiff shoulder.
It looked like the cupping mark on that spot are the darkest. 
bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
The modern version of dry cupping does not include the risk of fire and heat
The traditional cupping use flame to heat the air inside of the cup to create suction. But the more modern version of cupping they used here does not include the risk of fire and heat, so my mind can be at peace. Plus it doesn't hurt! The air is withdrawn by means of a squeeze-rubber balloon attached through a tube. When pinched the balloon expels air so that as it re-expands it draws air out, creating suction to draw skin up inside. The cup is left in place for 3 to 4 minutes. Dry cupping can dispels trapped wind that cause muscle and joint pain. The cups at this process looked steamy believed to be an expelled wind.

Step 3 - Superficial skin incision
The cup removed, then the practitioner usually poked the cupped area with lancet needle, a pricking needle which often use to collects blood sample. Puncture done is just below the skin's surface approximately 0.1 mm depth. But the practitioner where I went to use razor blade instead of needle to create a small skin incision. Between razor blade and needle, I am not sure which is the best. I have no idea that I can choose between this two method. Since this is my first time, I didn't ask further.

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
The hubs: Right after the small skin incision was made
The hubs asked about this when he had his cupping session the next day. The practitioner explained that using razor blade is better. The process of drawing out blood, according to the lady is much quicker and in most cases of diabetes patients, the cuts heals much faster. Using razor blade method is not painful as it seems. I just felt a little ticklish when she performed this but the things I'm not okay with is it left unwanted incision mark. The mark is actually less obvious except when you take a closer look at it. They completely gone after weeks.

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
I thought the incision mark may not visible, I was wrong. 
You can choose whatever method that feels more comfortable for you. Don't forget to tell your therapist of which method you wanted to use.

Step 4 - Wet cupping 
Cups are again left in place for 3 to 10 minutes and mild suction performed to draw a small quantity of blood out of the wounds. This process is done twice.

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Mild suction performed to draw a small quantity of blood out of the wounds.
bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Yuck! A clot of dark blood would begin accumulating in the cup
bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Mine (left) and the hubby's cup (right): I merely tease him saying his blood is thicker than mine because there are too many buildup of toxins in his body 

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Mr Hubby's cups are almost full 
bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Orangish crystal-like "things" that can be seen in the drawn blood
indicate the presence of uric acid
bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Oily and watery blood indicates high level of cholesterol in the body

The colour and amount of the blood drawn to the surface depending on the degree of toxicity in the muscle tissue. Dark blood is a sign of stagnation, which in many cases in modern terms is the amount of toxins in the blood. People who depend on hospital medicines for years may found his blood black, the practitioner told me. Orangish crystals like colour that found in the blood is a signs of uric acid.

Step 5 - Cupping mark
Although the resulting marks can look alarming, it is temporary and will fade. Mine eventually disappear in about a week. The length of time that cup marks persist usually reflects the level of circulation of blood in each patient’s system and the ability of their body to properly detoxify.

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
The cupping mark on my skin (left) and the hubby (right): According to the practitioner dark colour of the cupping mark indicates the toxicity level in the body

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Skin reaction after cupping

Bruce Bentley, the foremost international expert on the history and practice of cupping said, the marks the cups leave do have a meaning.
"All the changes that arise are pathogenic factors brought to the body surface. And they are certainly not “bruises” as far too many people believe. This is a big question so let’s just cover some issues in brief. Different colours are explicit indicators of the conditions within the body. A dark purple or even black marking always shows that there is deep-seated blood stasis. This will occur over an area with an unresolved longterm injury. Qi deficiency is indicated by the area remaining neutral or paler than the surrounding skin surface, after cupping. Coldness is a light mauve discolouration. Sha also frequently shows up at the skin surface after cupping, though not as much as after gua sha, because it is more thoroughly drawn out and released by the process of scraping. Cups can also draw up dense knotty purple masses, like varicosed lumps, from the body."

"One case where these turned up was on a woman’s scapula. After treatment she had great relief and said that since childhood she’d always had a problem in the area, ever since her mother had yanked her arm very hard and dislocated her shoulder. The cups drew out this old trauma and she has been fine since."
An antiseptic cream will be applied to the incisions after cupping.

Side Effect 
No major side effects aside from skin cuts. One month after the cupping therapy, I had no more headache. I am feeling more peace and relaxed. I am sure to come back for another cupping session.

Cupping Dos & Don'ts
The practitioner lady told me that cupping therapy is perfectly safe and no rules to be followed. However from some of my readings, I learned that cupping should not be done on infants, neither should it be done on the very young or the very old. And cupping is contraindicated in pregnancy, since it strongly activates and disperses the blood.

You can eat whatever you want however it is best to consume low fat and wholesome food in the 2 days prior to your treatment. Just like my husband said, it's a waste of money if you try a detox treatment but pay less attention on what you put in your mouth.

Do not eat and drink anything at least three hours prior to the treatment so that the body is not occupied with digesting food. It is best to eat healthy food 24 hours before and after treatment. Drink plenty of fluids prior to this period.

Cupping vs Blood Donation
Dead and stagnant blood cells accumulate in the capillaries near the surface of the skin. This stagnant blood is pretty much useless and takes up space which could be utilized by fresh clean blood. Cupping therapy is a process to remove this toxic blood and promotes the circulation of fresh blood.

The cuts are very light. The body heals the area very quick and the blood will stops coming out automatically. So don't worry about the possibility of all your blood being pump out. :)

bekam, cupping therapy for weight loss
Cupping Therapy vs Blood Donation. Source: alhijamah

Has anybody tried the cupping therapy? Does it work for you? 

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  1. I've never heard of cupping and I have reason to "cup" I guess. But it's still a little freaky to me...and gross. LOL I'm glad you found relief from it. Thanks for teaching me something new!

    Have a good one.

  2. Honeybee, this is so cool! I love stuff like this! I wish we had someone in this area that did cupping!

  3. The 1st experience is so worth it. Thanks all for commenting.

  4. I've been weary to try the cupping idea. I know a lot of people have gone through it. It's still terrifying though.

  5. Hi, can I know where is this place?

  6. I am cupping therapist in islamabad Pakistan. We call it Hijama in our language. I learned it and started it practicing after i got my frozen shoulder fixed in just one day. Before this I got treatment for rotator cuff which took around 7 months. I am an instructor of martial arts. And I love hijama

  7. it suddenly clicked that for the first time in my life I really needed to try something different that I controlled. hcg drops reviews


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