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Do you know that the top athletes during the recent Olympic Games have turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment known as “cupping” to boost their performance? In fact, the use of cupping therapy amongst athletes has been growing over the last decade. Floyd Mayweather, Andy Murray, Amir Khan are recent Olympians in Rio who were seen with cupping marks during their competitions.

What makes cupping therapy from TCM so appealing to athletes? Cupping therapy is to create suctions on your skin by using cups. It is an ancient technique from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which was developed thousands of years ago. The purpose of cupping is to enhance circulation, relieve pain, and pull out the toxins that deposit in your body’s tissues.

The history of using cupping in TCM has been recorded by the famous herbalist and alchemist named Ge Hong. Cups were utilized for draining pustules in his book. In another book introduced during the Tang Dynasty in China, cupping was usually prescribed for the cure and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.

The value of cupping as an effective treatment method had been well emphasized in alleviating a headache, abdominal pain, muscle pain, poor circulation, dizziness, allergies, and other pains in the book entitled “The Supplement to Outline of Materia Medica”, which is the most complete and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of TCM. The cups were specifically placed over acupuncture needles prior to these treatments. Cupping is also highly favored for the treatment and cure of arthralgia. Cupping is even considered to help dispel cold by its ability to release pathogenic factors that include cold, dampness, and wind.

In fact, cupping is not exclusive to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Variations of this treatment were used by ancient Egyptians, North American Indians, early Greeks, and other Asian and European countries. Today, cupping has been used by athletes during the Olympics to enhance their performance and recover quickly from injuries, also by the celebrities in Hollywood for detoxification and rejuvenation purposes. The Famous Hollywood movie star Jennifer Aniston is known to be a long-time fan of cupping and acupuncture.

Here are some unique exercise tips from TCM that are very effective for weight loss.

Health Benefits of Cupping

What are the health benefits of cupping? Just list a few here that you may be interested:

  • Provides fast and immediate relief from muscle pains, swellings, and other pains.
  • Improves blood circulation and promotes the energy flow in the body.
  • Helps treat circulation disorders and even pain due to stagnation of blood and Qi (energy) in the body.
  • Treats tingling or numbness in the extremities.
  • Eases menstrual pain, cold feet, hands, headaches, musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Increases circulation and balance the body’s energy.
  • Enhances the body’s immune function.
  • Dispels dampness and cold in the body.
  • Helps restore a healthy digestive system.
  • Promotes gut health and helps regulate bowel functions.
  • Enhances and speeds up the detoxification process in the body.
  • Treats respiratory conditions such as flu, common cold, asthma, and bronchitis.

Most people have tried acupuncture and experienced its magical healing power, especially for chronic pains and other chronic conditions, but to have acupuncture treatments on a regular basis can be costly and also time-consuming. I am going to introduce moxibustion. It is an alternative for acupuncture, which is especially ideal for those who are afraid of needles.
Let us first discuss the history of moxibustion. This ancient technique in TCM specifically combines the heat through the application of moxa, or Mugwort. In regard to the origin of moxibustion, it simply goes hand in hand with the start of this ancient technique. In the 16th century BCE, some places were seen practicing this method. This was popular during the Dynasty of Shang. This Dynasty started the development of convex mirrors, basic calculation, and lunar calendar.

The foundation for this ancient technique is that the body need to directly receive heat in specific areas in the body such as acupoints in order to facilitate the healing process. This method is based on the ancient wisdom of TCM including meridian system in the body and the Yin and Yang concepts.

Here is more detailed information about how the different meridian channels in the body work around the clock. You can take the advantage of this information to improve your health in general.

Moxibustion involves the burning of the herb – mugwort to facilitate healing. Mugwort is also called wormwood; it is an ancient herb used in TCM for thousands of years, especially in moxibustion. Mugwort helps balance Yin and Yang energy in the body, reduce pain, aid digestion, balance hormones, and relieve menopause symptoms and menstruation cramps for women. It is also a psychedelic herb, you can smoke it and it clears negative energy and pathogens in your body and your environment. The direction of the smoke from moxibustion tells you where the energetic blockage is located in your body. Mugwort also induces lucid dreams and lands you in a vivid dreamland at night. You may not aware that mugwort is also a potent herb to remove parasites and viruses in your body. It has been widely used both internally and externally in TCM. 

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which the dry herb is burned on or very near the surface of the skin. This process will produce a short wave of infrared light to enhance healing power. This will warm and trigger the energy flow of Qi in the body and remove the energetic blockages in the body. According to TCM, all illnesses are caused by energetic blockages in the body. By stimulating certain acupoints in the body with heat and herbs, one can recover from the illness quickly. You may wonder what acupoints are. In TCM, Acupoints are energetic points in our body; they are like traffic lights to direct the energy flow in the body. There are more than 400 hundreds of acupoints throughout the body. They are like electric switches to turn on or to turn off the energy flow. By stimulating certain acupoints in the body, you can increase the energy flow at certain locations and dissolve the specific health challenge quickly.

I visited China in January this year. My father happened to catch a cold; he was coughing all night. I only applied one moxibustion treatment on him, which quickly stopped his cough and helped him get rid of the cold. Moxibustion is a very effective technique for most common illnesses. The burning of mugwort can create a short wave of infrared light along with the heat, which is very powerful for healing along with the herb. This also makes moxibustion very unique and incomparable.

Health Benefits of Moxibustion

Moxibustion has many health benefits that may surprise you, just list a few here:

  • Prevents and treats diseases by applying the heat to some specific acupoints in the body.
  • Stimulates healing and promotes the blood circulation and Qi (energy) in the body.
  • Helps remove the blockages in the Meridians.
  • Expels dampness and cold from the body.
  • Stimulates the immune system and boosts energy levels.
  • Relieves arthritis, chronic pain, numbness in the toes and fingers.
  • Enhances digestion and relieves digestive issues.
  • Balances the Yin and Yang energy and restores the adrenal functions.
  • Reduces menstrual cramps and regulates menstruation cycles.
  • Relieves insomnia and menopause symptoms for women.

The art of moxibustion and cupping has been well-recognized in the world. Even health care practitioners and acupuncturists promote these two therapies. In addition, these methods have been considered adjunctive therapies that are used in alternative medicine. They further help improve your well-being and health. They are essential as a part of the comprehensive therapeutic methods.

What more could you ask for? They are a valuable tool to prevent and treat acute illnesses, digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, and chronic disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome and back pain. Today, they are continuously gaining recognition due to their amazing healing abilities. Many people in the world have been continuously supporting these ancient techniques!

Summer is the best season to apply these powerful healing techniques because the Yang energy is at its peak in your body, which favors the release of toxins and old illnesses. What is even better is that they also give your immunity a boost at the same time. As a result, you will feel energetic all year round.

What are your favorite alternative approaches to treat a common illness? Please share with us.

If you are interested in more ancient wisdom from TCM, I invite you to come to my workshop – “Unlock the Ancient Secret of Chinese Medicine”. I will provide hands-on training to master these ancient techniques from TCM, you will also learn the most important acupoints for anti-aging, weight loss and common illnesses, and much more. With this practical knowledge, self-care can be made easy at home to live a healthy and long life.

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About the author: Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, TCM Practitioner, Energy Healer, Master Hypnotist, Reiki Master, Advanced Theta Healing Practitioner, Author and Speaker, Lucy Liu, the founder of optimalhealthsolutions.ca, has gained a good reputation in holistic health after many years of serving patients and clients as a holistic health practitioner. Lucy has developed a unique and comprehensive approach, which combines Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, and Alternative Medicine together, to help others achieve optimal health by creating harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, and maintain long-term success for healthy lifestyle changes.
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