Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese form of alternative medicine whereby using a "cup" local suction is created on the skin. The method used most commonly in Traditional Chinese Medicine to create the suction is heat or fire. This is most commonly done by applying 70% alcohol to a cotton ball, clamping the cotton ball to forceps, and than the cotton ball is lit with a match or lighter. The flaming cotton ball, in one fluid motion is than briefly placed inside the cup, quickly removed, and than the cup is placed on the skin. The purpose of the adding "fire" to the inside of the cup is to remove oxygen, so that when the cup is quickly placed on the skin, suction will be created. The applied cup can be left in place, known as stationary cupping, or by applying a small amount of massage oil prior to placement of the cup onto the skin, one can move the cup while suctioned to the skin over the involve area that the Acupuncturist would like to treat.
Depending on the specific treatment, skin markings such as a red ring or light bruising may occur following the treatment. These markings will usually disappear within days. Usually cupping treatments are not painful. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping is utilized to dispel(scatter, remove) stagnant blood and or toxins thereby improving the flow of qi.
Most common conditions treated with cupping include:
- muscle soreness, aches, pains, injuries
- colds, flu with chest congestion