And you thought acupuncture had been around the block a while, cupping is actually one of, if not the, oldest medical technique that we know of. It’s so old in fact that it’s part of the Ebers Papyrus, the oldest collection of medical writings we have. It’s in this collection of Egyptian medical treatments from 1550BC that cupping is first detailed.
One way to get your head round it is to think that cupping was already well over 1000 years old by the time Cleopatra was born, it was as old to her as the invasion of Britain by William the Conqueror is to us. And it still works!
The treatment consists of using small cups to create a vacuum that gently pulls the underlying skin and tissues. Similar to that thing you did as a child where you sucked all the air out of the cup you were drinking out of to get it stuck to your face? Just me? Okay.
“That sounds a bit silly, how’s that meant to help?” I hear you asking. Well actually in a number of ways. The suction increases surface skin temperature which helps tackle local inflammation and pain (specifically good at chronic neck and shoulder pains) (1) It loosens muscles, connective and soft tissues. This enables a fresh supply of blood and helps the body recover excess fluids, reducing swelling. (2)
Cupping comes in several forms, including creating the vaccum with an open flame and ‘wet cupping’ which involved letting blood and placing the cup over the area. While other forms of cupping do have well documented results and benefits, we only practice cupping with a small pump at Mango, because it’s safer and we don’t want to set anyone on fire.