Cupping is a treatment that sits under the Chinese Medicine umbrella and is a technique involving the use of glass cups as suction devices. They are placed on the skin to assist in the dispersing of stagnation by drawing congested blood or energy to the surface. It is believed the skins’ pores open, stimulating blood and oxygen flow, creating an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.
Glass cups are warmed using an alcohol-soaked cotton ball which is lit and then placed inside the cup. Burning this inside the cup removes the oxygen thus creating a vacuum. Whilst it is burning, the cup is placed upside down and the cup is placed on a specific area of the body, depending on what is being treated. The cup is anchored to the skin via the vacuum that has been created which then pulls the skin upward as the air inside cools. Flames are not used near the skin. It is simply used for the heat that causes the suction action.
Once applied, cups are generally left in place for ten minutes or sometimes they can be gently moved across the skin. Commonly referred to as sliding cupping.
Side effects of cupping may include red or purple marks similar to bruising on the body, which usually disappear within 2-10 days. These marks are not bruising and generally should not hurt.