Cupping

A technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices placed on the body.

There are several ways to create the suction in the cups.

  1. Swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it & putting the cup immediately against the skin.

  2. Placing an inverted cup over a small flame, or by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad & placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it.

Flames are never used near the skin but are a means to create the heat that causes suction within the small cups.

Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin Suction in the cups causes the skin & superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage - rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing & relieving sensation.

Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.