While most people may have heard of acupuncture, many have not heard about cupping.

Cupping as another method of healing in Asian medicine. Practitioners use large cups that we swirl a burning cotton ball in to decrease the air in the cup and then place in on the persons body. Having the air depleted creates a suction under the cup so it sticks to the part of the body it is placed on. A more modern method used by some is using cups that allow the air to sucked out with a pump so no fire is needed.

Cupping is most often used on the back but can be used on the abdomen or chest. Cups can sit stationary on the body for certain conditions. In other cases, the acupuncturist will slowly move the cup around, which feels very nice, like a deep tissue massage without the work.

Cupping can be used for many conditions. Often it is used for pain when the muscles are very tight. It can be used to free up very stuck qi (or energy), such as when there is a hematoma in an area. It can be used to relieve colds, particularly if there is a lot of phlegm in the chest. It can also be used for diarrhea.

One side effect of cupping is that there are often bruises left behind from where the cups were. If they were stationary these can look like large round areas on the back. If the cups are moved around, often the bruising is all along the back area where the cups were moved. Any bruising should be kept covered as it is said that evil qi can enter through these types of bruises and cause further harm to the person

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for cupping. It can be a depleting procedure and needs to be used with care on patients who have a deficiency of qi.

If you are curious about having this method done, it is best to contact a licensed acupuncturist in your area to have this method performed on your body.