Cupping is an ancient alternative form of medicine that functions to stimulate and promote the free flow of qi (energy) and blood in the body. Either silicone or glass cups are placed on the patient’s skin to create a vacuum, drawing fresh oxygen rich blood to the affected area(s). Through the creation of negative pressure, cupping is used to drain excess fluids and toxins, promote circulation, reduce muscle tension, bring blood flow to stagnant skin and muscle, lift connective tissue, reduce tension headaches and stimulate the peripheral nervous system. Indications include but are not limited to, the common cold, asthma, headache, dizziness, muscle pain/tension and fatigue.
The cups either rest in place for 1-5 minutes and/or comfortably glide across the skin in a massaging motion. Most patients find the experience pleasant, though they may be left with localized discoloration which fades within a week or less. Cupping does not always leave a mark, which diagnostically supports that there is no stagnation in that area of the muscle or tissue; however, the absence of a mark does not indicate lack of benefit to the patient.
Depending on the ailment, cupping is recommended one to two times per week.
Contraindications to cupping therapy include cancer patients, those suffering from any organ failure and those using a pacemaker or suffering from hemophilia or a similar blood disorder. Cupping therapy is not recommended for geriatric patients, pediatric patients, and pregnant and menstruating women.Those with high cholesterol are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular ailments with cupping.