Cupping is one of the treatments of traditional Chinese medicine. Its use in China dates back to around the year 300 CE. It is best known for reducing pain and stiffness in muscles as seen by millions during the 2016 Summer Olympics in the swimming competition. In China martial artists have used it for centuries to promote healing from injuries and the stress of training. And while it is excellent as a therapy for a myriad of musculoskeletal problems, it also is used for a variety of acute and chronic conditions including colds, the flu, asthma, headaches, digestive problems and many others.
Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass or plastic jars as a suction devices placed on the skin. At Soaring Crane Acupuncture we use plastic suction cups that work by a hand held pump that draws the skin up into the cup. Once the suction has been obtained, the cups may be left in place or be gently moved across the skin (often referred to as gliding cupping). The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. For most patients, this is a relaxing sensation that is very effective at reducing chronic muscle tension and pain. The discoloration left after treatment disappears gradually over several days.
The cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes, and is often combined with acupuncture during the same session. However, it can also be used alone.
The Benefits of Cupping
- Improves flow of blood & Qi (“chee” – see “About Chinese Medicine” Page)
- Relieves muscle spasm
- Relieves back, neck & shoulder pain
- Promotes healing of tissues
- Boosts immune function
- Calms the nervous system
- Reduces headache & migraine pain
- Promotes elimination of metabolic waste