Cupping promotes healthy circulation, lymph flow, and energy flow in the local area. It is used mainly to treat pain syndromes, bi in Chinese Medicine, specifically those caused by wind damp. (Wind damp pain is the variety that responds well to heating pads, hot showers, and warming creams.) Muscle pain and tension in the shoulders and low back respond beautifully. Cupping can not only be used to relieve muscle tension and pain, it can also speed recovery from training regiments.
Suction and silicone cups
Muscle pain and strain from training (athletes and weekend warriors) can be alleviated with a few sessions of cupping. Suction and silicone cups on the market make cupping a comfortable and relaxing experience. You can adjust the suction to the patient's comfort level. There still may be bruising, which arnica or Traumeel cream can be applied to. Cups applied to local tension in the shoulders or back can feel wonderful. You only need a few minutes for relief, and for some signature cup marks.
Fire cupping involves glass cups, and a lighted alcohol swab on hemostats. The lit cotton is inserted into the cup, removed, and the cup quickly placed on the skin. The heat only causes suction, it does not make the cup warm or hot. Glass cups have a smooth edge that can be moved across lightly lubricated skin (light layer of massage oil) to have a deep tissue massage like effect. This therapy is deeply relaxing. The benefit to the glass/fire cupping is that it can be gently moved over the skin surface. The plastic suction cups are constructed with a thinner rim and cannot be comfortably moved while on the skin.
Cupping is thousands of years old. We have just been made more aware of it by the recent media exposure and new methods of applying the cups. Cupping practices span many different cultures. You may remember your grandparents applying this sort of therapy if you are from South America, Europe, Asia, India, or the Middle East.
There are also variations in cupping methods. The pictures here are all dry cupping. There is a form of cupping, called wet cupping, where the skin is pricked by small needles first and then the suction cup is applied. This bleeds specific points or regions. It is said to reduce and remove stagnation or stagnant blood.
Cupping does not hurt, and it can be applied at your comfort level. It is often a relaxing experience with lasting effect.
A MORE IN DEPTH LOOK AT CUPPING CAN BE FOUND AT: