Cupping is one of several modalities used within traditional Chinese medicine, along with Acupuncture And Oriental Medicine.

Fire Cups

In ancient times, practitioners used hollowed-out horns, bamboo, iron, pottery, and glass to do cupping.  Glass cups are the preferred method, although some acupuncturists use plastic cups with pumps. Traditional cupping uses fire to expel oxygen from the cups. The acupuncturist then quickly places the cup in the desired spot, creating a vacuum.

How Does Cupping Work and When is it Appropriate to Use?
When circulation is stagnant in an injured or diseased area, the cells are deprived of oxygen. This results in a local build-up of waste products. The suction pulls out the evils such as blood poison, dead lymph and cellular debris from deep within the tissues to the surface, expeling them from the body. It can take from several hours to a few weeks for the waste deposits to dissipate. The appearance on the skin will be light pink to dark purple and can sometimes result in blisters forming or black spots.

Patient Being Treated for Neck Pain

In China, cupping is used to treat respiratory conditions like bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. Arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, and certain types of pain are commonly treated.  Cupping can treat headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, depression and reduce swelling. The fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach are the preferred sites for treatment.