Cupping is one of the oldest methods of Chinese medicine and is still often used alongside acupuncture. Traditionally cupping is applied by warming glass cups by holding smoldering cotton wool inside them. This removes the oxygen so that when the cup is applied to the skin the ensuing vacuum pulls the skin and underlying tissue gently into the cup.
Cups are applied for around one to ten minutes. The Chinese believe that drawing up the skin will open the pores, stimulate the flow of blood, balance and stimulate the flow of Qi. I often use a technique called ‘moving cupping’, whereby suction is applied via glass cups. A special massage oil / wax is applied to the skin (mostly on the back) and the cup is applied and then gently drawn down the back. It is like having a massage but instead of pushing in we are drawing out. Cupping can be a highly enjoyable and effective procedure, and it is a favorite treatment of many of my patients.
I use both Traditional Chinese Fire Cupping and also the simple Pneumatic Cupping ( Plastic cups that are pumped on to the skin surface).