What I love about being able to treat children is the vast variety of effective treatment options that Chinese Medicine Practitioners have at there disposal. One such therapy is cupping. Like acupuncture, cupping can be used to support the body to heal and restore balance. Cupping has been used to treat illness for over 2500 years in most Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Many families are raised with cupping therapy being as common to them, as headache medication such as paracetamol is to our culture.
Cupping is a therapy in which a special cup or jar is attached to the skin by means of suction. The suction is created by heating the air inside the cup to create a vacuum, then quickly pressing the mouth of the cup to the desired area.
Other methods of cupping use special plastic cups that have a suction pump on them and are adjusted as needed for the appropriate pressure. Sometimes several cups are placed over specific acupuncture points on the body and will remain in one place for 5- 10 minutes. A technique known as moving cups may also be used. This technique is likened to a massage & very effective for loosening tight muscles & relieving pain.
In ancient times, cupping was done with bamboo cups or animal horns, and it was often employed to treat external conditions of the skin and muscles such as sprains and strains and drawing out pus. It is especially effective for musculoskeletal pain, often relieving the pain after a single application. The force of the suction draws stagnant blood to the surface of the body, sometimes leaving a round bruise in the shape of the cup. Since pain is caused by the stagnation of qi and blood, the goal of this therapy is to remove the stagnation, increase circulation, and allow healing to take place.
Cupping is generally recommended for the treatment of pain, gastrointestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), and paralysis. It is also very helpful for the treatment of headaches and migraines, digestive disorders (constipation, abdominal tension), menstrual disorders (cramps), respiratory problems (cough, allergies), as well as being very beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety, improving energy and helps to calm hyperactive behaviour in children.
It is a great therapy to consider for children or teenagers because it is not invasive, it feels great and has immediate effect.
Cupping therapy can be used on its own, with Tui Na (massage) and/or with acupuncture therapy. The next time your child has a headache or tummy pain before you reach for the drugs, consider Chinese Medicine, remember that cupping is just one of the options that exist and may just be the one that helps.