Cupping is an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which is created when cups are used to create a vacuum with heat in order to draw underlying superficial tissues into the cup when placed on the skin.

Glass cups are generally used for cupping therapy, however plastic cups fitted with a valve that attaches to a hand pump are also used, thus giving the practitioner greater control over the amount of suction used.  The cups are generally left in place for 10 - 15minutes and can produce bruising which should disappear within a week.

Types of Cupping

  1. Stationary Cupping

With the use of glass cups suction is usually obtained by lighting an alcohol-soaked cotton wool ball and inverting the cup over the flame to remove the oxygen before quickly placing the cup on the skin.  Flames are not used near the skin and the cups are generally left in place as in the picture.

  1. Sliding (Gliding) Cupping

The cups are used as above except oil is applied to the skin prior to the placement of cups thus allowing the practitioner the ability to gently glide the cups along the area being treated.