Cupping involves heating small glass cups to create a vacuum. The glass cups act as suction cups and are usually placed on the skin of the back and shoulders. Dry cupping is used to treat conditions such as muscle aches and colds.
Traditional Chinese cupping methods include fixed dry cupping, where the cups are held in place on the skin over the cupping points, and sliding cupping, where the cups are slid over the skin, for example with oil. Sliding cupping may also be referred to as suction cup massage.
Unlike massage, cupping does not apply pressure to the muscles, but lifts them with light pressure. Dry cupping cleanses, relaxes, improves circulation and metabolism and boosts energy. It removes waste products from the body that have accumulated under the skin. Cupping can also be used to treat back, neck and shoulder pain. For example, dry and gliding cupping of the back and shoulders is an effective treatment for muscle pain, muscle stiffness and increased metabolism.
The treatment eases stagnation, as the Chinese medical term for it, and can be used as a treatment for respiratory conditions such as colds and flu. Dry cupping therapy is used to stimulate local circulation, eliminate cold and stagnant blood, and treat skin diseases. Through acupoints, cupping aims to open up blockages in the meridians and improve the body’s energy levels.
Exclusions to cupping include diabetes, wounds, blood thinners, haemophilia or anaemia, cancer, acute muscle injuries and very poor physical condition.
For many people, bubonic plague brings to mind the traditional (Finnish) blood clotting. I do not use blood cupping at all in my treatments, but cupping is done using Chinese methods. 🙂
I use cupping and guasha treatment, for example in my Meridian Care neck and upper back massage. Come and see me in my practice to learn more about cupping!
I am an acupuncturist, Chinese medicine expert, and a registered podiatrist. I studied Chinese medicine at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and in Traditional Chinese Medicine Academy of Malaysia. I have furthered my knowledge while working in Finland, China, Singapore and Taiwan with experienced doctors.