about acupuncture

Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (either by heat or suction) in order to draw and hold skin and superficial muscles inside the cup. Sometimes, while the suction is active, the cup is moved, causing the skin and muscle to be pulled. This is called sliding cupping.

Cupping is applied to certain acupuncture points as well as to parts of the body that have been affected by pain. Cupping has greater emphasis on acupuncture points on the back, due to the ease with which it can be performed.  It is frequently used before or after acupuncture, especially for back pain.

Cupping is based on the meridian theory of the body. On one hand, cupping removes any stagnation in the body and opens the meridians so that qi can flow freely. On the other, it also helps to rejuvenate certain meridians and organs that are not functioning at their best. From a scientific standpoint, cupping is known to help activate the lymphatic system, promote blood circulation, and is good for deep tissue repair.

how does it work?

Glass cups are generally used for cupping, although silicon or plastic cups may also be used. When cupping is performed with glass cups, a small flame is held briefly within the cup before placing on the skin.  This allows for a change in pressure so that the skin and underlying tissues will be slightly drawn upward into the cup. Plastic cups are fitted with a valve that attaches to a small hand-operated pump, allowing the practitioner to suck out air without having to rely on fire to depressurise the cup first. It also gives them greater control over the amount of suction.

Cups are generally left in place for ten minutes although the time can range from five to fifteen minutes. The skin will redden due to the congestion of blood flow. The cup is removed from the skin by pressing the skin on one side, allowing some outside air to enter and thus equalise the pressure. Some bruising on the skin, or redness, may occur as a result of cupping.

What Cupping Can Help With

Cupping is generally recommended for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, although it does have application for other problems. Cupping can affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing the tissues to release toxins, activating the lymphatic system and blood circulation to promote healing.

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