Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Cupping is an adjunct therapy in TCM which has been used for thousands of years in Asia and Europe. There are several styles of cups and ways to apply them. Glass cups of varying size are the most common in clinics today. A vacuum is created inside the cup by rapidly swirling a lighted alcohol swab inside the cup which draws out the oxygen allowing it to suction on to the skin.

Cups may be stationary, being retained over specific muscles or areas of tension or they may be sliding, where massage oil is applied to the body allowing the cups to move over larger areas. Flashing cupping is the rapid suction and removal of the cup creating a popping noise.

Cupping can be used for many common complaints and has become an acceptable treatment among athletes, such as Chinese swimmer Wang Qun, uses cupping and of course who doesn't remember Gwyneth Paltrow at a New York film premiere.

What are the therapeutic benefits of cupping?
  • increases blood circulation to the area
  • decreases swelling
  • clears heat from the body
What conditions can be treated with cupping?
  • bi syndromes which corresponds to joint pain, especially that which is worse in cold, damp weather
  • muscle tension or pain
  • cough, common cold, stomachache
  • numbness, weakened function
What are the side-effects?
Depending on the intensity of the suction and amount of tension in an area there may be a bruise-like mark left varying from light red to dark purple. There is no pain or discomfort associated with this and often the darker the mark the more relief is felt.

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