What is Cupping?

Health & Wellness
Last Updated Jul 17, 2020
Health & Wellness

Gwyneth Paltrow has done it. So has Madonna. Even Victoria Beckham has been known to indulge. If you have seen pictures of celebs, sporting stars or the average person in the street with strange circular marks on their skin, they have more than likely had a Chinese therapy known as cupping.

Cupping is a healing therapy used in Traditional Chinese Medicine that works by stimulating the meridians, the subtle channels of energy that run through the body. Cupping is used to remove toxins and help energy move around the body. The technique stimulates blood flow, relaxes congested muscles, treats stiffness in the body and relieves pain.

Like a Massage… But Different

Glass cups are heated then placed on a specific area that needs treating, or on acupuncture points, creating suction. The skin and superficial muscle is sucked into the cup, counteracting stagnant energy. The cup can be left on one spot or moved around to create a “reverse massaging” effect – rather than applying pressure, the tissue is pulled upwards. In fact oil is used in the treatment to facilitate this movement.

Cupping treatment causes no pain, but there can be a sensation of tightness on the area that has been sucked up into the cup, which is relieved when the cup is removed.

After cupping, it is normal to experience bruising on the skin that can vary in colour from light pink/brown to bright red or dark purple.  Practitioners see the bruising as a reflection of the degree of stagnation or otherwise in the patient in that area. The bruising, though, doesn’t feel painful, but it can look rather startling!

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Originally published on Jun 20, 2011

Related Topics

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