Cupping is an alternative medicine practice with ancient origins in Asia, where it was used primarily as a way to drain abscesses and boils. Today, in addition to treating certain skin problems, cupping is often seen as a valid therapeutic treatment for many other types of medical issues (such as inflammation, high blood pressure and insomnia) as well as a form of deep tissue massage. It works by creating suction between a cup and the skin.
During a typical 30-minute cupping session, the therapist places cups (usually made of glass or plastic) on the client’s skin (over the area of discomfort/concern). Oxygen is then pushed out of the cups, creating negative pressure that helps to release soft tissue, drain excess fluids and toxins and increase blood flow. Indeed, the cups act like a vacuum, drawing blood and fluids to the surface of the skin and flushing toxins out of the body, causing a reddish mark that can look like a bruise. It’s all part of a natural healing process, though, which research indicates can decrease inflammation, aid in cellular repair and relieve pain.
To further improve the results of a cupping session, clients are advised to practice appropriate follow-up care, such as not bathing or showering afterwards. Here’s the reason why:
Why Can’t You Shower After Cupping?
You can’t bathe or shower after cupping because your skin will be sensitive. The pores underneath the cups will be open, a result of the negative pressure created by the cups themselves, making your skin in those areas especially vulnerable to changes in temperature and/or infection. Most cupping therapists recommend waiting at least three hours before taking a bath or shower after cupping.
If You Can’t Bathe or Shower After Cupping, What Should You Do?
Following a cupping session, you should make sure to drink a lot of water for the next 48 hours. Proper hydration enables the body to continue flushing toxins and other stagnations (cellular waste products) out of the body, further enhancing the benefits of the cupping session. You should also rest, since sleep is a vital part of the body’s natural regenerative processes, enabling all bodily systems to repair and replace damaged cells and tissues. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, as well, particularly ones made from a natural fiber (like cotton). Cotton won’t irritate the skin and allows air to flow freely, speeding up healing.
Want to Learn More?
- Who is the ideal candidate for cupping?
- What are the benefits?
- Why can’t you shower after cupping?
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You might also wish to read about our common sense, science-based approach to healthcare here.