What is cupping?

Cupping is a suction technique which creates pumping action inside the muscle by drawing blood to the surface and allowing new blood to flow into the muscle to allow repair and healing. This can either be done using a lit cotton ball to create a vacuum (called fire cupping) or with specialized cups that allow air to be pumped out (called air cupping.)It leaves round “hickies “on the back which can be purple, red or dark colored. Cupping is usually done on the back but can be done anywhere that suction can be created.

What can cupping treat?

Cupping can those with respiratory issues (chest congestion, asthma, and cough), pain conditions (acute and chronic neck and back pain, headaches), menstrual irregularities (PMS, cramping), stress (including sleep issues and tension,) and gastrointestinal issues.

According to East Asian Medicine it treats stasis or stasis with heat. This means that it is effective is treating any conditions with fixed stabbing type pain (vs. diffuse, achy pain which is better with pressure.) The color and duration of the marks indicates the amount of stasis or heat in the body. The more stagnation (or stasis) that is present, the more purple the marks. The more heat that is present the redder the marks.

For contraindications as well as a history of cupping see this article.