Cupping is done by creating suction within a cup then adhere it to a large area of the body, often on the back, for 10-15 minutes. Traditionally cupping is done with glass or bamboo cups with fire. The practitioner lights up a small fire and burns out the air in the cup to create a vacuum(suction), then put the cup on the patient’s body. Now there a type of new cups made from plastic and the suction is created by a suction pump.
Cupping in China was first invented as a surgical tool to remove pus from deep wounds. As TCM developed, newer means were invented to do the job and cupping was found to have the therapeutical effect on muscular relaxation by increasing blood flow. Since then, cupping has been used to help relieve muscle tension.
Cupping is a painless procedure, and there will be round, red marks after. Depending on the level of muscle tension, the color can be even purple. The marks usually will disappear within a few days.