The ancient Chinese therapy of cupping is championed by professional sports stars and celebrities the world over, but could it help people with fibromyalgia get some pain relief?
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According to the Mayo Clinic, cupping works by placing small glass cups on various acupuncture points on the body. The cup sticks to the skin and creates a vacuum, and the air within the cup is heated before being applied to the skin so the heat can penetrate the skin when placed on the body.
The cup is left on the skin for a few minutes before being pulled away, leaving the trademark red welt on the skin. In wet cupping, the skin is pricked prior to the cup being placed. This is supposed to promote healing by increasing circulation.
Researchers haven’t tested the effectiveness of cupping specifically for fibromyalgia pain relief, but many people living with the disease report benefits. However, some suggest it may simply be a placebo effect.
Cupping can leave bruises, burns, sore patches and in rare cases, skin infections but if conducted by a qualified professional, there should be no problems.