Chinese cupping therapy dates back 3,000 years. Cupping received worldwide attention in 2016, when Olympic athletes began showing up with cupping marks on their backs. For a Chinese Medicine practitioner, cupping therapy is used quite often to promote healing.
The cup creates a vacuum, which suctions up the tissue. It’s like a reverse massage: instead of compression, it is decompression. The cupping breaks up fascial adhesions, brings circulation to the surface, and promotes Qi flow. It is also a diagnostic tool. A reddish/purple discoloration is indicative of stagnation and areas of the body that need more healing.
What Are the Different Types of Cups?
There are three types of cups: glass, silicon, and plastic.
How Long Will the Marks Last?
The circular marks vary in how long they last depending on the state of stagnation in the body. Light marks may last only a day, whereas dark purple ones may last 5–7 days.
Either alcohol is rubbed on the bottom of the cup, or a cotton swab is soaked in alcohol and placed in the cup. The cotton is ignited, and as the fire goes out, the cup is carefully placed upside down on specific areas of the body.
Silicon cups can be used in a stationary or sliding manner. Oil is placed on the skin so the cups can be glided on the skin. This is a great method to break up stagnation, and feels wonderful on the back.
These cups can produce a lot of suction, and many placed in one area of the body can really break up stagnation.