Cupping (fire cupping)
Cupping is a Traditional Chinese Medicine healing therapy
Cupping, or fire cupping as it is sometimes called, comes from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and involves special glass cups called inspirators. The air is heated inside these cups which creates a vacuum and then they are quickly applied to the skin. The suction not only holds the cup in place, but it brings increased blood flow to the area in a form of treatment called congestion.
Most often someone would get this sort of treatment if they went to see an acupuncturist, and the practitioner felt this was the appropriate treatment for the problem. However, some people just really like how it feels and get their own cups so they can do this themselves at home. Sliding the cups across the skin can feel a lot like a deep massage and is very relaxing.
Some people think that cupping sort of looks like got attacked by an octopus, but the skin discolorations only last a short time and it doesn't hurt. The mottled bruising is caused by the force of suction on the skin, but cupping bruises don't wind up being tender like when you get hit or have a collision with something as there isn't impact damage.
Glass Inspirators and Cupping Sets
In addition to using cups on the skin with suction, there are techniques where moxibustion or blood-letting is combined. With moxibustion, a small amount of a special herb incense is applied to the skin and lit and then the cup is placed over it. For blood-letting, a tiny incision is made and then cupped. For both of those methods, you will definitely want to have glass cups and not the tiny plastic ones.
My Experiences With Cupping
I've known about cupping for about a decade now, and I've had it done on a few occasions. It's not painful but it can leave you with some funky circle bruises on your skin for a while afterwards. Most often the skin is massaged a bit with oil. This lets the skin and cup edge slide more easily against each other when the cups are applied.
A glass cup has a lit torch held inside it for a few seconds. This is just enough to warm the air, which creates a vacuum effect. The cup is then quickly plopped down on the skin. A small area of skin is sucked up into the cup and that's what holds it to the skin surface. The hotter the air, the stronger the vacuum and suction feeling. If it feels too tight at this point, either the skin wasn't oiled enough or the vacuum is just a tad too strong. The cup can be easily removed and reapplied if it's really uncomfortable.
Sometimes large cups are applied and then slide back and forth on the body surface. This feels like a massage, as the cup sucks up a bit of the skin and by moving the cup, it feel like a deep muscle push done with the heel of the hand. Smaller cups can also be applied over areas where chi is blocked or where you want to increase circulation.
Cups are left in place for up to a half hour approximately. To remove them, you just break the seal by pressing down at the edge of them with a finger. The marks left behind are a combination of how strong the vacuum of the cups was and what impurities/toxins were being removed. Most often the circles left behind are reddish-brown but they can also be yellowish or even a bit more blue like a traditional bruise. These fade anywhere from a day to over a week or two depending on how long the cups were on you and what your own skin healing is like.
Theraputic Cupping Sets
There is also a style of cupping which uses a hand-pump instead of heat/flame to create the vacuum that holds the cups in place. Many of the sets also include magnets, which are applied on specific points or meridians to enhance energy flow. Sets include many cups in graduated sizes.
Either type of cup can produce the same congestive effects and draw blood to specific body areas.
- What is cupping therapy?
Cupping is an ancient Chinese method of causing local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few min
- A World of Acupuncture - Cupping
Cupping is generally used as an alternative to acupuncture to infulence qi and blood flow.
- 'Cupping' Takes The Pain Away - CBS News
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- Fire cupping - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fire cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum next to the patient's skin. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) it involves placing glass, plastic, or bamboo cups on the skin with a vacuum. The therapy is used to relieve what
- Massage Cupping
Massage cupping is an exciting modern adaptation of the ancient art of cupping therapy. Cupping is a subtle, yet powerful addition to any healthcare practice and complements many healing modalities.
Cupping is a method of treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that involves heating the air inside a cup and placing the inverted cup on some part of the body.
Cupping is a therapy in which a jar is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat in the form of an ignited material. In the ancient times in China, cupping method was called " hor
See How Cupping Can Be Done
Different healing modalities use cupping in different ways. These videos show how cupping is used as part of traditional Chinese medicine.
Cupping History and Instruction
Cupping comes from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It can be applied to specific spots on the body, but it has also been adapted as a form of massage. It can be done on its own or with other forms of treatment. Here are some books which detail how this practice is done. All these books are going to be a bit more expensive as they are medical-level text books.
This unique reference explores all aspects of cupping-- an ancient, predominantly Eastern technique in which heated cups are applied to the body for beneficial healing effects. Guidelines are applied to the treatment of common medical conditions, with answers to readers' questions concerning safety and outcome. Each method is well illustrated, with differentiations between cupping practice on adults and children.
If you've had cupping done for a medical condition, please share your experience with other readers! Do you find you like the deep tissue manipulation or the pressure? How do you feel about the marks that you get from being cupped? What parts of your body does this help you with the most, and for what physical ailments?