Many people are turning to complementary or alternative therapies to help boost their immune system. One such way is Cupping Therapy. Cupping is an ancient practice that dates back to China, Egypt, Greece, and Eastern Europe.
“Just five minutes of cupping is equal to 30 minutes of a traditional massage”, according to one of Lure’s massage therapists’ feedback. Why? Cupping is an inverse massage that works faster and more effectively than regular massage. Cupping lifts, stretches, and separates soft tissue using vacuum suction, allowing for blood and lymph fluid to flow, where with regular deep tissue massage and foam rollers, the muscles are compressed.
While cupping is an ancient modality, traditionally one would rely on the use of flame to create vacuum suction inside a cupping jar. Today with the help of modern material and technology, cupping can be safely enjoyed by nearly everyone in both professional settings or in the privacy of their home in self-care applications and massage.
Cupping Therapy and the Immune System
Cupping therapy may be beneficial to the immune system and offers ways to help boost the immune response to better fight off unwelcome pathogens. How? Cupping helps improve lymph and blood flow. It support healthy respiratory function by nourishing lungs and clearing congestion and phlegm. Cupping also helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.
The goal of cupping is to increase circulation to the blood vessels, which encourages improved blood flow to the affected areas. Improved circulation is associated with better heart and lung health, organ health, increased white blood cell delivery and decreased inflammation. These benefits are important for boosting the immune response, which is often compromised by stress, lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, and viruses. Having a robust immune system is important for protecting against bacteria, infections, and cellular deterioration in the tissue of the body.
One of the key players in the immune system response is the lymphatic system.
What Is the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues throughout the body that help carry away toxins and waste. Lymph is a fluid that contains high levels of white blood cells which help fight against infection and disease.
Cupping and Lymphatic Drainage
Cupping encourages the lymphatic system to reduce inflammation by increasing the amount of circulation to targeted areas and muscles of the body, moving toxins and waste to the lymphatic system where the lymph fluid takes it away. This is known as lymphatic drainage.
In addition to decreased inflammation, lymphatic drainage helps eliminate toxins and cellular debris that may cause bloating, spider veins, cellulite, stretch marks, wrinkles, and joint and nerve pain by moving them up to the surface of skin and out for expulsion.
Cupping also stimulates the immune response by causing the immune system to release an enzyme called heme oxygenase-1, or HO-1. HO-1 which regulates immune responses to inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
HO-1 also releases iron and bilirubin, both of which contain antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help regulate stress hormones, which can compromise the immune system.
Cupping and Respiratory Function
Cupping is being explored for a variety of pulmonary and respiratory conditions, such as COPD, asthma, and bronchitis. Whether you suffer from a chronic condition or need help recovering from a respiratory infection, cupping therapy may be a safe and natural way to improve respiratory function.
Increased blood flow and lymphatic drainage contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system. The delivery of oxygen, red blood cells, and white blood cells to critical areas such as the lungs and bronchi help to improve their function and stamina, keeping the tissue and blood vessels healthy.
The benefits of cupping and enhancing respiratory function extend far beyond the pulmonary system. Healthy, rejuvenated lung tissue can improve respiratory symptoms and the drawing in of more oxygen, which helps continue the blood circulation throughout the body. This benefits the immune system and anti-inflammatory responses.
Cupping and Maintaining a Healthy Gut
In recent years, scientific and medical studies have turned their focus to the gut as a key player in immune response and support. In fact, the gut is thought to be the hub of the immune system, creating colonies of beneficial organisms that help fight bad bacteria that enter the digestive system and bloodstream. While cupping does not deliver additional healthy organisms to the gut flora, it helps increase blood flow to the digestive system, which allows existing gastrointestinal microbiota to flourish. Meanwhile, the bad bacteria and toxins caught in the gastrointestinal tract are carried away by a rejuvenated lymphatic system. Abdominal cupping can help draw out toxins from the gut, which in turn helps to alleviate blockage in the colon, reduce excess fluid retention, and encourage regular, healthy bowel movements.
The increase in blood flow also helps reduce inflammation and removes waste that can cause inflammation. Inflammation contributes to digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's Disease, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Reduced fluid and regular bowel movements have benefits around the tummy, reducing bloating and the build-up of waste in the intestines. Additionally, cupping may improve digestive fluid secretion, which helps you digest and absorb nutrients more effectively. Increased circulation in the digestive tract also helps with mineral and vitamin absorption.
Cupping Therapy at Home
At Lure Essentials, we offer a variety of cupping systems to support your digestive, respiratory, and lymphatic health.
There are several different cupping techniques one can enjoy with cupping. These are: static, dynamic, and brisk flash cupping.
With static cupping, place the cups on your skin for 3-5 minutes at a time, allowing the cups to lift, stretch, and separate soft tissue for improved blood and lymph fluid flow.
Another effective cupping technique is lymphatic drainage via dynamic/gliding cupping massage. For this you will need a non-absorbent emollient. We recommend our BOOST Body Massage Oil, or you can cup in the shower using water and body wash. Another technique is the brisk flash cupping method, with a quick suction-lift-release-repeat movement.
If you are looking for ways to harness the immune-boosting properties that cupping can offer, browse our extensive online collection of cupping therapy sets. We are also available to answer your questions via email or at 707-728-LURE (5873). To learn more about the benefits of cupping, you can also view our video tutorials.
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