Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine, originated in China, in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. The suction may facilitate healing with blood flow.
Chinese believe that cupping helps balance yin and yang, or the negative and positive, within the body. Restoring balance between these two extremes is thought to help with the body’s resistance to pathogens as well as its ability to increase blood flow and reduce pain.
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.
Cupping is used for many purposes, including:
- blood flow
- as a type of deep-tissue massage.
What should I expect during a cupping treatment?
During a cupping treatment, a cup is placed on the skin and then heated or suctioned onto the skin. The cup is often heated with fire using alcohol that’s placed directly into the cup. The fire source is removed, and the heated cup is placed with the open side directly on your skin.
When the hot cup is placed on your skin, the air inside the cup cools and creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upward into the cup. Your skin may turn red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure.