Cupping is one of the ancient healing techniques used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
TCM thinks of good health in terms Qi (life force or energy). When healthy, an abundant supply of Qi flows through the body’s meridians – a network of invisible channels throughout the body. If the flow of Qi becomes blocked or depleted, the body fails to maintain balance and illness follows.
Cupping involves placing inverted glass cups over the acupuncture points on the meridian lines – usually the five meridian lines on the back. Using these acupuncture points, cupping clears stagnation and stimulates the flow of Qi.
Cupping works by using the inverted glass cups to create a vacuum. The vacuum is created by first heating the inside of the cups, which are immediately applied to the affected area. Once suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. The effect of cupping is the opposite of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.
Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. It is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping loosens the muscles, encourages blood flow, clears blockages, and calms the nervous system.
The benefits of Cupping include:
- Draining and moving fluids
- Relieving inflammation
- Releasing toxins in the body through the skin
- Drawing the blood supply to the skin which promotes healing.
Cupping is effective in treating a broad range of conditions including:
- The common cold
- Respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis
- Arthritis and rheumatism
- Back, neck and shoulder pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscular spasm
- IBS and gastro-intestinal problems
Because of the suction action of the cups, mild reddening is common following treatment. It disappears after a few days.