Like gua sha, cupping dates back thousands of years. It has many forms. The cupping in modern day Chinese medicine usually comes in the form of glass or plastic cups. As oxygen is removed from the cups, it causes suction. Fire is the original way the oxygen was taken out of the cup. The plastic cups use an air pump. The suction of the cup lifts the tissue allowing better blood,
lymph and what we call qi (life force) to flow. When used as a sliding cup, it provides myofascial release. This can facilitate obstructions that stagnate in the body. It can treat nueromuscular
pain, and repetitive joint and trauma injuries. This is especially popular for athletes.
Cupping can also help move toxins out of the body that might be circulating in the tissues, possibly from colds, the flu or lymph congestion. It can also be used for digestive disorders as it facilitates intestinal peristalsis and fluid movement. If used correctly, discoloration (purple) post-cupping can signal areas of obstruction. If the discoloration is red, it signals excess heat in the body. Very pale or no color signals a deficient blood supply. It shouldn’t be an uncomfortable treatment so inform your practitioner if you experience pain from cupping.