Chinese Cupping Therapy has been used as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. There has been a recent upsurge in interest in Cupping Therapy as a result of athletes using it at the last Olympic Games.
A flame is inserted into a glass cup to create an air vacuum; the cup is then placed on the body, normally the back. The air vacuum lifts the skin and flesh, which increases blood flow to the area. This releases muscle tension, helps move lymphatic fluids, releases hormones and helps move toxins. The increase in blood and Qi flow is very effective in treating a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions and issues.
Afterwards there can be marks left on the skin, which can look like round bruises, but they are not painful and fade in a few days. It is usually combined with traditional acupuncture to treat musculoskeletal pain, tight-knotted muscles or the onset of colds and flus.
There are different techniques such as sliding cups, where the back is coated in an oil or lotion, and the cup is moved up and down. Flash cupping is where one or two cups are put on for less than a minute, and then removed and replaced again. The feeling is very relaxing, and patients report it as a very pleasant and relaxing treatment.