The cupping session
In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball, which is soaked in alcohol, lit, then briefly placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.
The cup is then turned upside-down and placed over a specific area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin's pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.
Depending on the condition being treated, the cups will be left in place from 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient's body at the same time. Some practitioners will also apply small amounts of medicated oils or herbal oils to the skin just before the cupping procedure, which lets them move the cups up and down particular acupoints or meridians after they have been applied.
Conditions treated with cupping
Cupping is one of the most effective methods to treat muscle tension and pain. Common problems like neck pain, shoulder pain and low back pain can be relieved by one cupping session.
In China, cupping is used primarily to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion; arthritic pain; constipation; and certain types of pain. Some practitioners also use cupping to treat depression and. Fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach are the preferred sites for treatment.
Cupping - Contraindications
While cupping is considered safe, it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small; circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless and disappear within a few days of treatment.
In addition, there are several instances where cupping should not be performed. Patients with inflamed skin; cases of high fever or convulsions; and patients who bleed easily, are not suitable candidates for cupping. Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back. If the cups are being moved, they should not cross-bony areas, such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder blades.