How did Cupping start? Cupping is one of the oldest recorded methods used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with reports dating back to the early fourth century. Traditionally practitioners used animal horn and bamboo as the cupping vessels, placing them over affected areas in the body to restore balance. Modern day acupuncturists prefer to use cups made of thick glass as they are much easier sterilized between uses.
What happens when you get cupping? Cups adhere to the skin with the aid of a flame which causes a vacuum within the cup. As the flame consumes the oxygen inside the cup it is quickly placed over the affected area anchoring it to the skin. It is then either left stationary or moved across the surface of the skin depending on the treatment method sought. The application of the cup can trigger the flow of the blood, break up congestion in the structures underneath and allows for toxins to be drawn to the surface. Commonly cups are applied for 1-10 minutes, and can cause damage to the area if left on for extended periods of time.
Who can have cupping? Whilst cupping is a commonly accepted practice and considered relatively safe, as a result of application the patient will often experience swelling and extensive bruising in the area that can last from a few days to a few weeks. For this reason the use of cups isn't for everyone. Therefore caution is used when using this therapy on young, elderly and weak patients.