In addition to acupuncture and herbology, cupping therapy has been part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Originally, brass, ceramic, and bamboo cups were used. Today, we use high quality sterilized glass cups in a variety of sizes. Cupping is similar to a deep tissue massage, yet yields specific health benefits. The practitioner applies heat in a cup and then applies that cup to the body, most commonly on the back over large muscle areas. The heat creates a vacuum effect and pulls the surrounding area into the cup. The result is helping the body pull fresh oxygenated blood into an area with congested blood circulation, release of toxins, acupuncture point stimulation, increased lymphatic flow, relaxation of tight muscles, and reduced inflammation.
Cupping can leave noticeable marks similar to a bruise that is sometimes referred to as "being hugged by an octopus”. Although they can look alarming, they are considered therapeutic, are not painful, and will disappear on their own within 3-7 days. Most commonly, cupping is used for aches and pains of various types including low back and limb pain, neck and shoulder tension, and fibromyalgia conditions. It can also help open up the chest and benefit the lungs to treat respiratory problems such as cough, bronchitis, and asthma. It can even benefit menstrual problems and digestive problems including stomachaches, vomiting, and diarrhea. Please discuss with your practitioner if you feel you have a condition that would benefit from cupping therapy.