What is Cupping?
Although “cupping” may sound strange, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine have used this method to heal people since 300 A.D. (4). Dr. Kaleem Ullah, secretary of the British Cupping Society, shares, “Cupping Therapy is an ancient medical treatment. Which relies upon creating a local suction to mobilize blood flow in order to promote healing” (3). For example, cupping provides relief for migraines, muscular tension, respiratory diseases, digestive diseases, and chronic pain.
How Does Cupping Work?
Ge Hong writes, in A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, that the earliest record of cupping was from the 4th century with a hollowed-out horn as the tool of choice. But a lot has changed since its start. Now, practitioners use glass, bamboo, and pottery cups to create the healing suction.
During the session, a cotton ball is soaked in alcohol and burned inside the cup in order to remove oxygen. Thus, creating a vacuum that anchors the cup to the skin. There are other methods of cupping, like holding the cup over a small flame and using a hand pump instead of fire. But, the flame is never used near skin, because its only purpose is to create suction.
Once the cups are placed on the proper areas of the body, the cups are slid across oiled skin. In fact, the effect is much like a “reverse massage.” This is due to the skin and superficial muscle gently being pulled into the cup, which helps to loosen the muscles and promote better blood flow.
According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, “Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected material” (4). The cups are placed along the meridians of the body to target specific complaints, like in acupuncture. In fact, acupuncture and cupping can be done together!
If you have symptoms keeping you from living your best life, know that there’s only health to gain by trying this non-invasive, low-risk treatment!
1. Dharmananda, Subhuti, Ph.D. Institute for Traditional Medicine, “Cupping.” Last modified March 1999. Accessed February 3, 2014.
2. Ullah, Kaleem, Ph.D. British Cupping Society, “A Brief Overview of Cupping Therapy.” Last modified May 15, 2011. Accessed February 3, 2014.
4. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, “The Many Benefits of Chinese Cupping.” Last modified June 17, 2009. Accessed February 3, 2014.
Watch These Videos To Learn More About Cupping
Sliding/Moving cupping method
Fire Cupping Demonstration
The Power of Cupping