Do you suffer from chronic neck pain? Try cupping, an ancient form of alternative medicine
10/11/2018 // RJ Jhonson // Views

Chronic neck pain is a public health concern that does not have a lot of known cures. Recent studies, however, suggest that cupping massage can be effective in easing neck pain, reducing the incidence and severity of discomfort and resulting in an improved quality of life for sufferers.

One study involved 50 patients who were randomly assigned to either a cupping group or a wait list. Those in the treatment group went through five sessions of cupping massage on a twice-weekly basis. The patients in the control group continued with their usual conventional treatment.

Those patients in the cupping group reported less pain compared with those in the control group. This led the researchers to conclude that cupping could improve neck pain and function, as well as the patients' quality of life without causing any adverse results.

What is cupping?

Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy based on the belief that certain health problems are caused by stagnant blood and poor energy flow throughout the body. In order to fix or prevent such issues, practitioners apply cups, usually made of glass or silicone, to the skin. These cups create a vacuum by suctioning out air.

While this is happening, you will feel a tight sensation in the areas where the cups are placed. The sensation is generally soothing and relaxing. Cups may be moved around or left in place, depending on your comfort level and your practitioner’s assessment of the problem. These cups create a pressure that sucks skin inward, drawing blood to the affected area and increasing your overall blood flow. This increased blood flow is believed to relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation.


This treatment causes the skin to temporarily turn red, blue, or purple, particularly in parts where an injury or energetic blockage is present. The “bruising” may last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks but is very rarely painful. It is best to wait for the marks to disappear completely before you schedule your next procedure. Treatment may be repeated until the condition is resolved. (Related: Got neck pain? New study says chiropractic care and simple home exercises work better than painkillers.)

Should you try cupping massage?

For hundreds of years, cupping has been used to treat chronic pain and headaches, as it gets rid of musculoskeletal pain, which is often a physical manifestation of chronic stress. Pain, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is caused by inflammation, so if one or more body parts are in pain, it means that inflammation has increased locally in those areas. Cupping helps improve blood circulation in affected areas, attracting immune cells to aid in the repair and recovery process. Swelling goes down, and pain is lessened.

It also offers numerous health benefits, including the removal of toxins from the body. It works wonders not just on individuals suffering from chronic pain, but also on patients with colds, coughs, poor circulation, the flu, anxiety, allergies, and fever, among others. It is not exclusive to Chinese medicine – in fact, it was also used by ancient Egyptians, North American Indians, early Greeks, and in other Asian and European countries. It is certainly widely used in modern times and even has a cult following among celebrities.

If you are looking for a holistic way to treat chronic neck pain and other aches in your body, you could definitely try cupping therapy.

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