Cup Your Cold or Cough Away
Cupping Therapy for Colds, Flu, Cough and Chest Congestion
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Cupping therapy is an ancient traditional and complementary medicine practice that is part of numerous ancient healing systems, such as Chinese, Unani, traditional Korean, Tibetan, and Oriental medicine .
It involves the application of cups onto selected skin points to create a subatmospheric pressure, either through heat or pumps. The suction pressure of the cups can affect the tissues up to 4 inches deep. The effects of cupping therapy include promotion of the blood flow, changing of the skin's biomechanical properties, increasing pain thresholds, improving local anaerobic metabolism, detoxification, reducing inflammation, and modulation of the cellular immune system. .
Cupping Therapy for the Initial Stages of Cold & Flu
In Chinese medicine, the superficial layers of the body are the most vulnerable to the external environment. When exterior pathogenic factors attack the body, they most commonly first lodge in the exterior portion of the body . Typical symptoms of obstruction include chills and fever, aversion to wind, body aches shivering, sore and itchy throat, headaches,  runny nose or nasal congestion. Before sickness enters deeper into the body and affects the lung and other organ function, the aim is to draw out and clear the pathogenic factors out of the external layers. This is done through cupping over a point called Da Zhui 大椎 which acts as the intersection to all the 6 most external meridians in the body. Once the pathogens are cleared out, there is space for new flow of blood, lymph and other body fluids which helps with strengthening the immune response of the body.
Cupping Therapy for Cough, Chest Congestion & Chest Stuffiness
Once the infectious agents begin to enter deeper into the body, usually there would be signs of phlegm production, coughing, chest stuffiness, difficulty breathing / shortness of breath, loss of voice etc. With coughing and congestion, the body carries inflammation and muscles constrict to prevent the spread of infection. The problem is that the body also needs access to proper blood flow. Cupping on the upper back helps with releasing congestion by drawing out the stagnant old blood and body fluids, allowing new flow of blood, lymph to the area. This provides the area access to the immune cells to carry out the immune response effectively, for the intake of nutrients, the removal of toxins, other waist, and expelling infectious mucous. New flow of blood and lymph and other nutrients to the area aids with the immune response and helps with releasing the intercostal muscle strain that caused chest tightness.
 Aboushanab, T.S. Al Sanad, S. 2018. Cupping Therapy: An Overview from a Modern Medicine Perspective. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. 11(3):83-87. Referenced from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2005290117302042?via%3Dihub#bib40
 Deadman, P. Al-Khafaji, M. 2007. A Manual of Acupuncture. Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications.