What is Cupping?

As an Acupuncturist, I’m often asked about cupping. Clients want to know how it works and what the benefits are.

Cupping is one of the many modalities used in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is used for multiple types of conditions with the most popular being musculoskeletal issues such as back pain.

cupping-thumb-2This is because cupping releases tight muscles and increases blood circulation to the area. It encourages relaxation of the muscles by widening the blood vessels and in turn stimulating circulation.

There are different types of cupping including plastic vacuum cups and glass cups. I use traditional fire cupping in the clinic.

It works by lighting an alcohol saturated cotton ball and placing it inside the glass cup, the flame creates a partial vacuum in the cup and when it is placed on the skin, the skin is drawn upward into the cup. The cups can be left on from 5 to 15 minutes.

Depending on the amount of stagnation cupping may leave bruising. These bruises are part of the healing process and last approximately 2-5 days.

cupping-two1-300x300In addition to the use of musculoskeletal issues cupping can be used for: delayed menstruation due to stasis (cupping on the lower back encourages the movement of blood in the uterus), the common cold, cosmetic treatment of cellulite and various veins as well as other conditions.

Cupping on the lower back can be used for conditions of delayed menstruation due to stagnation

Cautions that should be used with cupping include: abdominal/sacral areas in pregnant women (as it is such a strong blood mover), over ulcerated sores on the skin and in individuals with cardiac disease and a history of aneurysms.

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