Cupping, similarly to gua sha, is a method rooted in a long history of Chinese medicine. Essentially, the practice of cupping involves the uses of suction of a cup on the skin, enabling the skin to lift from the subcutaneous layers and increasing local flow of blood and fluids. The suction and negative pressure created through cupping increases blood circulation, loosens muscles and connective tissue, clears “heat”, and creates a soothing, sedating effect on the nervous system. It also helps to draw out dead or stagnant blood cells, cellular debris, lymph fluid, and stimulates the immune system releasing toxins out of the deeper tissues and up toward the surface, allowing for easier release from the body and improving overall blood circulation to the area. It can leave temporary marks that looks like a bruise. The marks take a few days to a week to disappear.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, cupping “opens” the channels, the pathways in the body through which “Qi” (dynamic life force energy) flows. A free flow of Qi is necessary to support the function of the body’s tissues and organs. When that flow is obstructed, and the Qi and blood are stagnant, pain and dysfunction results. Cupping helps to improve the flow of Qi and blood, allowing for improved function and healing. Cupping is a relaxing therapy and the benefits will last a few days to one week. Repeated visits may be necessary depending on the severity of the condition.