Cupping can be dated back to the 4th century, and is considered to be one of the oldest modalities of TCM. Materials used can vary with practitioners: animal horns, bamboo, glass, pottery and plastic are utilized. I choose to use glass, blown from a local artist, right here on the Big Island.
Traditionally, fire is used to create suction within the device just prior to placement upon the skin. There are more modern devices available that utilize a suction pump that attaches to plastic cups, but again, I prefer a more time-honored approach.
Cupping is used to open the pores of the skin, helping to stimulate blood flow, balance and realign the flow of Qi, break up obstructions, and create a way for toxins to be drawn out of the body.
• Respiratory conditions
• Gastrointestinal disorders
• Some types of muscle pain, like back pain
Cupping should not be used on inflamed or broken skin, high fever or convulsions or patients who bleed easily. It can cause swelling and/or bruising of the skin being treated. Unlike a bruise received from trauma, this bruising usually dissipates quickly. In 2 to 3 days your skin will return to normal, but the wonderful effects of Cupping will remain.
That said, Cupping is considered relatively safe, in the hands of a skilled practitioner.
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