Why Cupping the Back Can Be so Effective for Elevating Your Health

Cupping is an effective therapy method for treating stagnation and for detoxifying. According to Chinese medicine, many diseases of the human body are caused by blood stagnation. (Image: Toprak~fawiki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
Cupping is an effective therapy method for treating stagnation and for detoxifying. According to Chinese medicine, many diseases of the human body are caused by blood stagnation. (Image: Toprak~fawiki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Cupping is a therapy method in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), where cups are placed on the patient’s skin for a few minutes to create a suction.

The purpose of cupping is to warm the channels and dredge collaterals to remove wind and cold, to relieve swelling and pain, and to remove puss and detox the body, among other things.

Cupping has a wide range of applications, is simple to apply, and is not known to have any side effects.

In China, it is very commonly used in clinics and in the countryside.

According to the Lingshu Jing (Divine Pivot or Spiritual Pivot), an ancient Chinese medical text, meridians can decide one’s life and death. Their obstruction is associated with many kinds of diseases.

According to Chinese medicine, many diseases of the human body are caused by blood stagnation. The branching blood vessels in the spine are connected with all the organs in the body.

Therefore, it is considered important that the blood flow in these areas should circulate smoothly in order to transport away silt, nourish the body, and thus prevent the occurrence of many related diseases and syndromes.

That’s why TCM considers cupping therapy an effective means to treat and prevent many illnesses.

To understand why cupping is considered a very effective therapy for the treatment of many illnesses, you must first understand the significance of the two main meridians that run along the back.

The spine and the Du meridian

Ancient Acupuncture chart, dumai (Governor Vessel). (Image Credit: (By Welcomeimages, [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Ancient acupuncture chart, dumai (Governor Vessel).
(Image: (Welcomeimages, [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

The spine is an extension of the brain, and the brain directs the whole body via the spinal cord. The qi channel running along the ridge of the spine is called the Du meridian. The Du meridian (Governing Vessel) governs all of the yang meridians of the body.

The bladder meridians run from each eye to the neck, along both sides of the spinal ridge, down the back of the legs to the baby toes along the outsides of the feet. The bladder meridian is the longest and one of the most complex meridians of the body. The bladder is considered to be responsible for the circulation of water in the body. The bladder is also the body’s main channel for detoxifying.

This is the reason why it is the most commonly selected area for massage and cupping.

The vast number of branching blood vessels and the two meridians, the Du and bladder meridians, make the back a profound area for treating a range of illnesses.

The bladder meridian

Image Credit: Welcomeimages [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bladder channel of Legtaiyang. (Image: Welcomeimages [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Chinese traditional medicine believes that any disease in the body is directly or indirectly related to the bladder.

To illustrate the function of the bladder, you can visualize the relationship that sewage pipes have to your home. If any of these sewage pipes were to become obstructed, your daily life would be impaired. The bladder meridian has a similar relationship to your body in the way that it functions.

The bladder channel is also the body’s barrier against cold from the outside; if the meridian’s energy flow is unobstructed, cold from the outside will not easily enter the body. Also, the accumulation of toxins in the body will be minimized, as the bladder’s detoxing function will be working optimally.

However, if this is not the case and the bladder meridian is obstructed in any area, then cold will enter the body and toxins will accumulate to the point that they will cause the body to become ill.

Cupping and its therapeutic effect

In relation to the before explained meridians, you can now understand why cupping or massaging the back is a very common application in  TCM when treating many different illnesses.

The cupping therapy is mainly used to treat stagnant blood and lymph, the common cold, back pain, and other health problems.

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