What is cupping
Cupping is a method of relieving local congestion by applying a partial vacuum that is created in
a cup(s), either by heat or by suction.
Cupping has been used for thousands
of years. Although it is often associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine, the entire world once knew of this
therapy and used it.
The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese used cupping
The oldest recorded medical textbook, Ebers Papyrus, written in approximately
1550 BCE in Egypt, mentions cupping (Curtis, 2005).
In the UK, the practice of cupping therapy also dates back a long time in one
of their leading medical journals, The Lancet. It was named after this practice as it refers to the surgical
instrument that can scrape the skin to perform a style of cupping.
Conditions Which Can Benefit From Cupping
What Happens During A
During a cupping treatment, the practitioner will place a flammable
(such as herbs or alcohol) inside a cup, and then ignite that substance.
When the fire goes out, the practitioner places the cup upside-down over certain qi pathways linked to the
condition being treated.
The cup is usually left in place for five to ten minutes, during which time blood vessels expand and increase
Cupping is also thought to open up the skin's pores and promote detoxification.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page for video demonstrations on cupping.
Is cupping safe? Does it
While cupping is considered
relatively safe (especially air cupping, which does not include the risk of fire and heat), it can cause some
swelling and bruising on the skin.
As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand.
This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied.
These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment.
In addition, there are several instances where cupping should not be
Patients with inflamed skin; cases of high fever or convulsions; and patients
who bleed easily, are not suitable candidates for cupping.
Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back.
If the cups are being moved, they should not cross bony areas, such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder
Acupuncture and Cupping Demonstration
Acupuncture Bleeding and Cupping