The art of cupping is a technique that places glass jars, silicon jars, or cups over an area of skin to open the pores. This is achieved by heating the jars or using suction to create a vacuum to draw up the skin and help stimulate the flow of blood. Additional benefits of cupping include reaching a balance and harmonize for the flow of qi, breaking up obstructions, and creating an avenue for toxins to be drawn out. Cupping can offer positive results with conditions including muscle pain & tightening, swelling or colds with fluid buildup. A common side-effect of cupping is temporary discoloration of the skin where the cups were applied. This is not serious and will generally go away after a few days. The discoloration will vary depending on different factors. Common discoloration includes light red which indicates inflammation & heat and purple with indicates poor blood flow through the muscles.
Cupping Therapy Used Today
While there are a variety of cup methods used today, the most common are fire cupping, silicone cupping & plastic cupping with manual suctions. Fire cupping is the most widely used method and uses glass cups. To achieve the suction on the skin, a therapist will soak a cotton ball in alcohol, lite it to produce a large flame and then place it inside the cup to remove all the oxygen from inside the cup. This cup is then placed on the skin to create a natural vacuum. The other cups mentioned, silicone & plastic, can be used with a manual suction to achieve the same result. This is a great alternative for patients uncomfortable with the fire cupping method.