Cupping is using a naked flame to draw the air out of glass jars (cups) and then placing the cups on the skin. The suction created pulls the blood to the surface area of the skin creating a temporary ‘cup mark’. It is used mainly to treat pain but can also be used in general treatments.
The Origins of Cupping
It all started many thousands of years ago with the first records showing cupping being used by the Egyptians in 1550 BC. Records show that cupping has been used in China for over 3000 years, with the first cups being made of hollow animal horns. The wide end of the horn would be placed on the patient’s skin. The practitioner would suck air out of the horn through a small hole in the other end and place a small wad over the hole to seal it and lock in the suction. Bamboo cups were then used for many years before glass cups become common place (and much more hygienic).
What Does It Do?
Cupping draws blood to the skin thereby both increasing blood flow in the area and helping to bring toxins to the surface so the body can clear them. The increased blood flow may stimulate the body’s natural repair mechanisms to fix problems.
Is It Dangerous?
There will be minor bruising (round dots) where the cups were. This bruising will last for up to 7 days, but the more cupping you get, the less the bruising is and it also clears much more quickly. It should not be done over broken skin, frail skin or rashes, on the front of the neck or head, or on bony parts of the body, etc…
Does It Hurt?
When the cups go on you will really feel a strong suction sensation. This dies off after a few minutes. Cups normally stay in for around 10 minutes, but can be as little as 2-3 minutes depending on the patient and the treatment objective. You don’t get hurt or burnt or anything like that. The bruises left on your skin are not painful at all and you can get on with all of your usual activities. An experienced practitioner will adjust the strength of the cupping to suit you to keep you comfortable.
What is Cupping Used For?
It is mainly used for aches and pains and muscle problems including those from sports.