In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum on the patient's skin.
The therapy is used to dispel stagnation—stagnant blood and lymph, thereby improving qi flow—to treat respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis. Cupping also is used on back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal conditions.
It produces feeling of relaxation and invigoration.
In practice, cups are normally used only on softer tissue that can form a good seal with the edge of the cup.
They may be used singly or in large number to cover a larger area.
They may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture needle. Skin may be lubricated, allowing the cup to move across the skin slowly.
Depending on the specific treatment, skin marking is common after the cups are removed. This may be a simple red ring that disappears quickly, but more aggressive treatments can result in deeper bruising. In general, the longer a cup is left on, the more of a circular mark is created.
Usually treatments are not painful, but relaxing.
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