Cupping Therapy is a technique where cups are placed on the skin with suction to activate the flow of energy (Qi) and blood in the area. There are primarily two types of cupping: “Fire Cupping” and “Vacuum Pump Cupping.” Fire Cupping uses glass cups and are warmed with fire. Vacuum Pump Cupping uses plastic cups to create suction. These techniques are very good methods for releasing cold from the body by moving stagnated blood and revitalizing blood to nourish the tissues. It works by drawing the pathogenic factors to the surface in order to treat muscle and joint pain, remove swelling and reduce inflammation. It also encourages the stretching of soft tissues and aids in releasing adhesions.
Cupping has numerous benefits — it can help remove toxins from the body and stimulate the flow of fresh blood, lymph, and qi to the affected area and throughout the body. It often works very well for patients with the flu, colds, coughs, back and muscle pain, poor circulation, anxiety, red itchy skin conditions (though cups are not applied to inflamed areas), allergies, fevers, aches and myriad other pains.
Cupping is not be used on patients who bleed easily and/or cannot stop bleeding, have skin ulcers, or edema. It is unwise to cup over large blood vessels as well. Pregnant women should be cupped with extreme caution and never on their abdomen or lower back.