Cupping is a type of manual therapy and has historically been used around the world. Items such as bamboo, antlers, glass and ceramic cups have all been employed for therapeutic benefit. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction, which may facilitate healing with blood flow. The cup is either first heated or manually pumped to create a suction. The cups are then left on your skin for several minutes.
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.
For most patients, cupping is safe to try and could complement an existing treatment plan. It can help move “qi,” which is the life force in the body in Chinese medical terms.
Cupping can be used to alleviate muscle pain, chronic cough, acne, digestive issues and much more. It should not be used with children under the age of 4, seniors, pregnant women and women who are menstruating. Also, it is not done when patients have sunburn, wounds, skin ulcerations, trauma or internal organ dysfunction/bleeding.