Is cupping dangerous?

Dry Cupping Side Effects

drycupIn the case of dry cupping, suction is created by inserting a burning object inside a glass cup that is removed before inverting the cup on the specific points on the patient’s body. In cases where the burning object such as a cotton ball or herbs is left in the cup, the therapist might place an insulation pad on the skin to ensure that there is no burning. Patients can be assured that the skin is never burnt.

Most patients experience a relaxing sensation coupled with relief when cupping therapy is performed. They might also experience a slight twinge when the skin is pulled up by suction. Because the skin is tugged upwards, sometimes tiny capillaries under the surface of the skin tend to expand, and after the cup is removed, patients might notice a circular bruise accompanied by some amount of swelling. However, these bruises are not painful, and cupping therapists might perform massage therapy and hydration to assist in the healing of these marks.

In place of glass or plastic cups, therapists might also use cups made of medical grade silicone that is heated to an elevated temperature to sterilize them before use. These silicone cups are more flexible and move more easily over the skin, reducing the chances of bruising.

Silicone cups are now commonly used by people looking to perform cupping therapy on themselves due to the lack of flame and the ability to target certain areas of the body such as using cupping for cellulite.

Wet Cupping Side Effects

Wet cupping is another form of cupping where the suction is alternated by performing tiny cuts with a scalpel on the skin to allow the release of toxic blood and fluids from the body and thus promote healing. When combined with acupuncture, the cupping therapist might insert needles in the pressure of the patient’s body. In rare cases, when these instruments are not sterilized properly, skin infections can occur.

Thus, this form of cupping therapy must be performed under sterile conditions, using disinfected instruments. Later antiseptic ointments and dressing are applied to eliminate the risk of infections. The cuts typically heal within a few days leaving behind no scarring. Patients can also request for local anesthesia so they don’t feel any pain when the cuts are performed. Using a cupping set with a pump is best for wet cupping treatment.

While the possible side effects of cupping therapy are minimal, it is preferable to seek treatment from a certified professional therapist. To further reduce any possibility of side effects, patients must follow the instructions of the healer regarding the precautions to be taken post-treatment.