Cupping is a very traditional method of treatment used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. It is also practiced in Eastern Europe and involves glass cups being applied to various parts of the body for therapeutic purposes.
The cups come in different sizes and are suctioned on to the body in areas in which muscles tend to be more abundant. They can be applied directly over pressure points, along the channels/meridians or in an area where there is pain (such as the back or shoulder). A practitioner may sometimes apply a cup directly over an acupuncture needle during a treatment to increase the benefits of the acupuncture.
The functions of cupping are improving circulation, clearing toxins, strengthening the body, balancing the internal organs and reducing pain caused by blood or Qi stagnation.
Cupping is well-known treatment of traditional Chinese medicine, but like all treatments it is not suitable in every situation or for all body types. A traditional Chinese medicine practitioner can determine if cupping is suitable following the diagnosis of each specific case.