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  • Writer's picturezoe kung

Cupping Therapy vs. Acupuncture: How Are They Similar and Different?

Updated: Jan 22, 2019

Source : by Dr.Axe

Cupping and acupuncture are similar because they both promote optimal “Qi” by drawing energy and blood flow to areas of the body that are experiencing inflammation, prone to low lymphatic circulation or experiencing poor blood flow. Sometimes both practices are done together by placing an acupuncture needle into the patient’s skin and then covering the needle with a cup.

In terms of their history and benefits, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) cupping and acupuncture both help dispel stagnation, which can lead to disease. Cupping and acupuncture follow the body’s lines of “meridians” along the back, promoting relaxation and breaking up tension while boosting energy flow (known as Qi, the “life force”). In other words, they’re useful for blood and lymph flow, which is how they might help reduce swelling and treat various infections or diseases.

Together, these methods resolve disturbed functions of Zang-fu, a collective term in TCM for internal organs, including the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys, along with the gallbladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and bladder. (9)

Both practices are prescribed by TCM healers for treating the common cold or flu, fighting chronic stress, and promoting healing following pneumonia, bronchitis and musculoskeletal injuries. They do this by helping accumulated toxins to be released, blockages to be cleared, and veins and arteries to open up.

The theory behind using acupuncture and cupping simultaneously is that together they target tissue or muscles that have tightened up in response to an injury that has caused fibers to stick together and white blood cells to become stuck. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to increase the flow of blood to the affected area, but in people with injuries, performing cupping along with acupuncture might be more beneficial for easing swelling. That’s because increased blood flow alone won’t solve a painful tissue or muscular problem; the area also needs to be drained for the body’s healing process to begin and for extra fluids, white blood cells and heat to be released.

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