What is cupping?

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 works by releasing tight muscles and increasing circulation of blood to the area. It encourages relaxation of the muscles by widening the blood vessels, which further stimulates circulation.

There are different types of cupping, including plastic vacuum cups and glass cups.

In my clinic, I use traditional fire cupping, which 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 in the circulatory system, cupping may leave bruising. These bruises are part of the healing process and last approximately 2-5 days.

In addition to helping with musculoskeletal issues, cupping can be used to treat delayed menstruation due to stasis. Cupping on the lower back encourages the movement of blood in the uterus. It also helps alleviate symptoms of the common cold and can be used as a cosmetic treatment for cellulite and varicose veins, as well as other conditions.

Cupping should be used with extreme caution in the abdominal/sacral areas on 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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