Chinese cupping therapy is a centuries old technique which is intended to increase blood flow to promote healing and relaxation. Although the treatment will leave bruises on the skin for several days, cupping shouldn't hurt the recipient.
Cupping isn’t just for use after extreme exercise, it can be useful for common ailments such as back pain or stiff joints.
Cupping is a modality of acupuncture and has been around for more than 2,000 years. It’s a good therapy for musculoskeletal problems, particularly muscle strain and tension, neck pain, frozen shoulder, lower back pain, sciatica, sports injuries, tendonitis and tennis elbow.
The treatment involves applying glass cups to acupuncture points on the body, the cups are left on the skin for 10 to 30 minutes. The vacuum effect then sucks up the skin, drawing muscle and soft tissue to the surface, as well as blood capillaries that rupture slightly. It promotes healing by drawing blood to the affected area and relieves tensions, sprains and tenderness in the muscles and tendons.
Sometimes, you can also use a pump to create the vacuum in the cup as you can get better control to create a weaker vacuum and have a gentler effect. Cupping shouldn’t hurt but you may notice a pulling sensation.
In Chinese medicine we believe that illness is caused by energy, or Qi, becoming blocked and cupping is one way of unblocking these. It’s very safe and the purple marks are bruises, not burns – no heat is applied to the skin.