What is cupping? What does it treat?
Cupping is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese Medicine. Cupping is used primarily for treating muscular pain and tightness. When a muscle fiber is in a spasm, which translates into pain and tightness for the patient, placing a cup over the tight muscle will reduce the muscle tension as well as pull out old toxins and allow new circulation to return to the area so healing can take place. Cupping can also be used in cases of respiratory issues (asthma, colds, flus, and bronchitis).
How does cupping work?
I use two types of cupping in my clinic. I use glass cups that are warmed by using a cotton ball which has been soaked in alcohol. Burning the cotton ball inside the cup removes all the oxygen which creates a vacuum. The cup is then placed quickly on a specific region of the body and the vacuum inside the cup anchors the cup to the skin and draws the skin inside. Drawing up the skin helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balance the qi, break up obstructions, and pulls toxins out of the body.
Moving cupping can also be used with the glass cups. Before placing the cups on the body, an oil or lotion is applied to the skin. The glass cups are then moved around over the skin creating a sensation like a deep tissue massage. This type of cupping is extremely relaxing and therapeutic.
I also use air cupping in my clinic. Instead of using a flame to heat a glass cup, I use a suction pump to pull the air out of a plastic cup. This type of cupping can be used in smaller regions of the body, such as the neck and allows the practitioner to control the intensity of the cupping.
Is cupping safe? Does it hurt?
Cupping is extremely safe. It does however leave the patient with circular bruises where the cups were applied. These bruises can last about 3 to 5 days resulting in some mild soreness.