Traditional Chinese Cupping

Cupping is an ancient Chinese practice in where a glass cup is applied to the skin and pressure in the cup is reduced by a change in heat thus suctioning out air so the skin and muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup like a massage technique.

Cupping is one of the oldest methods in Traditional Chinese Medicine, dating back to the fourth century B.C. The cups were originally made from hollowed out animal horns or from bamboo. Today the cups are made of thick glass. The cups stay on by vacuum suction which is created by briefly holding a flame inside the cups to burn up all the oxygen, creating a vacuum. The flame is held inside the cup so briefly that it doesn’t warm the glass at all, so there is no risk of burns. (But it is important that cupping is done only by a licensed Acupuncturist.) The cups usually stay on anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on the patient’s condition.

Benefits of Cupping

Conditions which can benefit from cupping include headache, back pain, joint and muscular pain, infertility, sexual disorders, rheumatic diseases, hypertension, breast enhancement, bed wetting, common colds and flu, insomnia, stroke, fever, constipation and diarrhea, chest pain, asthma and blood disorders.

Cupping is usually done for conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, congestion, arthritis, and certain types of pain, usually chronic pain. It is also done to treat depression and often times to reduce certain types of swelling.

Precautions of Applying Cupping

Cupping therapy is generally safe and painless. It is safe as long as it is done by a licensed Acupuncturist. It may, however leave bruises. These are created from the suction and usually look like hickys. The bruises can often be tender, but are not usually painful, and they disappear within a few days. Cupping should not be performed on people with inflammed, irritated, or infected skin. It is also usually avoided on elderly people with very thin, delicate skin.

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