Cupping is a Chinese Medicine technique that is especially useful in the treatment of problems of local qi or blood stagnation in the channels, and is usually performed along with or as an alternative to acupuncture. It is helpful for releasing stagnation in muscles and also can be beneficial when one is coming down with a cold or flu.
The instruments used are usually rounded glass cups. The cups are warmed with a burning taper, which is held for a very short period of time inside the cup, creating a vacuum. The cup is then quickly placed over the selected area, gently drawing the skin up and into the cup and holding the cup in place.
This process encourages the healthy flow of qi and blood both in the local area and along the entire meridian, allowing blockages and stagnation to clear. Cupping is most often used for conditions such as back pain, arthritis, abdominal pain, shoulder pain, hypertension, common cold, cough, painful menstruation, etc.