Cupping (also called fire cupping) is a therapy that has been used in China (as well as other parts of the ancient world) for thousands of years. It involves creating a vacuum inside a cup (usually class, ceramic or plastic) and placing it immediately over the skin. The vacuum, which is usually created by placing the cup over a lit flame) will create suction on the body, lightly drawing the skin and superficial muscles tissues up (like a reverse massage). The skin will rise up and redden a little as blood vessels expand. Cups are usually left on the body for 5-10 minutes. Sometimes they are gently moved along a meridian pathway in a technique called gliding or sliding cupping. Cupping is most often done on the back, but can be used on the neck, legs or other body areas.
Cupping therapy is used to "unstick" stuck spots and helps relieve pain. It can increase blood flow to an area, loosen tight muscles and can relax the nervous system. Cupping therapy is used for many conditions from muscle pain to migraine to anxiety. A classic use of it cupping is to loosen & clear up congestion in the chest, We also use cupping to help remove blockages that are in the pathways (called meridians) of qi that run in the body.
Most patients enjoy cupping. It feels like a gentle massage and they often experience as sense of release. Cupping is a safe, effective therapy. The flames that are used to create the suction are never lit near the body. If you have questions about cupping, please talk to Meg at your next appointment.