Cupping is a form of alternative medicine in which suction is created on the skin, which mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat (fire) or a mechanical hand pump. Through either heat or suction the skin is gently drawn upwards by creating a vacuum in a cup over the target area of the skin. The cup stays in place for five to fifteen minutes. It can be combined with acupuncture or as a stand alone treatment. Cupping is an excellent deep tissue therapy. It can treat pain including arthritic joints and muscular conditions, loosening muscles, encouraging blood flow, relieving neck pain, stiff muscles, shoulders and backs. It also treats respiratory conditions such as colds and influenza. From a Chinese Medicine perspective it dispels stagnant blood and lymph thereby improving the flow of qi.
Most of the validity of cupping as an alternative medical practice comes from its long history of use over the past 3,000 years. Cupping techniques have been used extensively to treat a range of disorders and symptoms, sometimes on their own, or other times in conjunction with other alternative practices. It’s common for cupping therapy to be used along with massage therapy, essential oils, acupuncture or even as an adjunct to “Western medicine” treatments.