Cupping is a method of treatment used to create suction on the skin to treat various conditions. There are many forms of cupping ranging from different techniques to different types of cups. I use primarily glass cups. To create the suction, a cotton ball with alcohol on it is ignited and inserted into the cup to remove the oxygen. It is then removed quickly and placed on the skin where it suctions in an attempt to restore the oxygen. There is no contact of the fire with the skin therefore the only feeling is cold from the glass then the suctioning.
There are different types of cups. There are plastic cups that use a pump in stead of fire. There are bamboo cups that are boiled in water and herbs. The heat from the water creates the suction when it touches the skin. There are rubber cups that are shaped so that pressure applied to it will create suction. There are also glass cups with a rubber bulb on top so that there is no need for the use of fire. The squeezing of the bulb creates the suction.
Cups can remain stationary for a period of time. They can also be moved by adding oil to the cup or the skin and running them up and down the area being treated. There are other methods as well that are not commonly used at my offices.
Cupping is good for warming the body, moving blood and qi, decreases swelling and pain. It is commonly used on the back, neck, legs, arms and shoulders. It can treat acute or chronic issues. The suction may cause bruising on the skin due to pulling stagnant blood and toxins to the skin’s surface.
Watch a short demonstration of Cupping.