Cupping is one of the oldest modalities in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Strong glass or plastic cups are applied to specific points on the body surface, by creating a mild vacuum in the cup.

In “fire cupping” the vacuum is created by holding a small flame briefly under the cup, to create the vacuum and then the cup is quickly placed on the patient’s body,

Cupping Bl 13 on the upper backIn “air pump cupping” the vacuum is created by using a small handpump.

Usually the cup/s are applied to fleshy or muscle covered areas, like the back, legs or abdomen.

I use both sorts, according to what my client needs.

It is also possible, by applying a small amount of massage oil on the area to be cupped to slide the cups across several acu-points. Excellent for relieving tight / cramped muscles.

e.g. up and down the muscles either side of the thoracic spine.

Why create a vacuum you may ask?

Where muscles are tight/stiffness there will usually be a build up of lactic acid and waste products in the muscle and skin /fascia /underlying muscles adhering together.

By creating a vacuum, we can:

  • Break down the adhesions, allowing lymph to flow better.
  • Clear the lactic acid and waste products out of the muscles
  • Bring blood to the area, and speed up the muscle re-oxygenation.

This helps relieve the muscle stiffness and speeds it’s recovery.

This is the primary use I put it to, as I have found it very effective on my own body.

It can also be used for other conditions

For example in China it is used to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. They also use it to help in treating arthritis, certain types of pain and also gastrointestinal disorders.

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