Traditional Chinese Medicine: Cupping Therapy

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Thu, Sep 08, 2011 @ 01:36 PM

Cupping is a technique where a glass or plastic cup or bamboo jar is suctioned onto the body and allowed to sit for about ten minutes or is moved around with oil used for lubrication. This technique stimulates circulation, relieves swelling, and greatly enhances an acupuncture treatment. 

describe the imageCupping is used for many conditions including: 

back pain,  

shoulder pain,  

neck pain,  

gastrointestinal disorders,  

common colds,


cough and asthma

"The cupping method has the function of warming and promoting the free flow of qi and blood in the meridians, dispelling cold dampness, diminishing swellings and pains." (Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Cheng Xinnong).  

The suction created during a cupping procedure penetrates deep into one's tissues and can help the release of toxins from the body. Cupping therapy is most commonly done on one's back. There are several yang meridians on the back which are stimulated by the cupping therapy allowing the internal energy to flow through the whole body.

The two most common ways of suctioning the cups to the body are "fire" cupping and manual suction cupping. To do "fire" cupping, the practitioner will light an alcohol soaked cotton ball on fire and briefly place the fire inside the glass cup, creating a vacuum. Then he or she will quickly place the cup on the skin. The amount of suction can then be adjusted by sliding or moving the cup. Manual suction cups use a pump to create the vacuum between the cup and the soft tissue.

Cupping can leave marks on the skin which indicates that the stagnation or disease has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface, aiding in the healing process. The marks from a cupping treatment can range anywhere from light pink to dark purple circles. It is rare for these "hickies or bruises" to be painful and they will dissipate in a few days.

All of the practitioners at AOMA can perform cupping. Call to make an appointment today! Or request an appointment online.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping

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