What Is Cupping?
Cupping is therapy that is used, usually on the back and neck, to relieve pain. The cups create a suction when placed on the skin.
The Chinese theory for cupping is that it increases circulation and resolves blood stasis. Blood stasis is how Chinese medicine explains pain. The energy and blood get stuck.
There are a variety of ways to move the blocked energy and blood. You can use massage, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and cupping. There are other techniques also.
There are two types of cupping that are common. There is Fire Cupping. A ball of cotton is soaked in alcohol and lit on fire. It is then placed inside a glass jar so the air in the jar is heated.
The jar, with no burning cotton in it, is placed on the skin. The heat in the jar pulls the skin into the cup and the area under the cup turns purple. After it turns purple, you know the blood has been pulled to the surface. That helps to resolve stagnant blood.
There is also moving cupping. You can either put the cup on the back and leave it there a few minutes, or you can put oil on the back and move the cup around on the skin.
If you do not like to use fire cupping, which I do not, you can also use suction cups. Suction cups use a pump device that pulls air out of the cup so the suction occurs. You can then either leave the cups on the skin, or move them around.
The problem with cupping is that is tends to bruise. If you need to have cupping, it can leave purple marks on your back that will resolve in a few days. It can easily look like an octopus attacked you.
You will either have round purple circles where the cupping was done, or you can have other purple marks where you did moving cupping. This is why I do not do cupping. Most Americans do not feel comfortable with having purple marks on their skin. If they did not need cupping, it would not typically show purple on the skin. The cupping pulls the blood to the surface to resolve it.
This is from a very aggressive cupping session. Notice how some of the circles are darker than the others. The dark purple ones show where the worst areas of stagnation are. It doesn’t really hurt. It just looks really scary.
In spite of the fact that it looks very scary with the purple welts, it really does not hurt. It just looks awful. It will be bruised for days. It depends on how long your body takes to resolve the bruises.
It can be a very effective treatment for back pain and neck pain.
If you want to relieve back pain with herbal remedies, there is a back pain remedy I highly recommend. It works for me when nothing else has. I also use it for neck and knee pain. It treats any kind of joint pain. There are three different formulations. I like the one that goes from this link. It includes bromelain and other herbs used for pain.
This video includes fire cupping and suction cup cupping: