The cupping method is becoming very popular in recent years with its vast amount of media exposure. It is an ancient method developed by the Chinese around the year 281 AD. It was an ancient Taoist medical practice and was widely used in the courts of Imperial China during those times. You may seen the photo of Gwyneth Paltrow on the red carpet with a shoulder-less black dress and cupping marks all up her back, or a picture of Victoria Beckham with a tank top showing cupping marks around her spine after getting off a plane during fashion show season. Most recently, the 23 Gold metal holder Michael Phelps showed cupping marks around his shoulder, back, and legs at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Many other celebrities also endorse and are loyal users of the cupping method. Such as Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, Madonna, Justin Bieber, Chris Martin, Lena Dunham and more.
Why do so many celebrities and people all around us choose the cupping method? Because the treatment is non-invasive and effective. When receiving the cupping treatment, patients will feel a strong pulling sensation on the targeted part of their bodies that is enjoyable by most. Cupping is a therapy in which a clear glass 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. Glass cup is preferred since it is transparent, the local congestion at the site for increased energy and blood flow can be seen so as to control the treatment.
The cupping method has the function of promoting the free flow of Qi and blood in the meridians, dispelling cold dampness, demising swellings and pains. In clinics, the cupping method is mainly used to help draw out and eliminate pathogenic factors such as cold, dampness and heat. It detoxifies the body and it is effective in removing toxins related to infections, inflammation, and other harmful bacterias created by environmental pollution, such as water, air and heavy metal. Therefore, many users choose the cupping method to treat cold, cough, and back acne; pain of the low back, shoulders, and legs; gastrointestinal disorders such as obesity, stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea.
At our office we manipulate the cupping with the fire twinkling method. We use cotton ball soaked with 95% alcohol by igniting it and twinkling it around the cup, then immediately take it out to draw out the oxygen and place the cup on the selected position. Fire is the best choice for cupping because it disinfects, warms the skin and opens the pores quickly, causing the toxins to be pulled out of the body at a faster rate. Generally, the cup is sucked in place for 5-10 minutes. The skin becomes congested with dark colored blood stasis formation, leaving various circling marks on body which is what you see from the pictures. The cupping marks are distinctive and they will disappear in a few days.
Our office use a combinational treatments for our patients. We use the cupping method, followed by the acupuncture treatment, along with Tui Na massage method at the end to maximize the treatment effect. It is not advisable to apply cupping to the patient with skin ulcer, edema, or on an area overlying large blood vessels.