Cupping is an ancient treatment that dates back to the early 4th century and is observed in Chinese, Egyptian and middle Eastern cultures.. This alternative medicine involves placing cups on to the skin to create suction. The cups used could be made out of bamboo, glass or earthenware. The suction created by the cups is believed to mobilize blood flow which promotes healing of a wide range of ailments.
The cupping therapy involves warming the cups using a cotton ball or any other flammable matter that is soaked in alcohol then put in the cup. This action creates vacuum in the cup and as the substance continues to burn, the cup is inverted such that the practitioner places it on the area of concern. The vacuum created due to lack of oxygen firmly holds onto the skin and pulls it upwards to the inside. Pulling up the skin is believed to open-up the skin pores which stimulates blood flow, balances and realigns the flow of qi, gets rid of barriers and avails an avenue through which toxins are drawn out from the body.
The cups can be left on the skin for 5-10 minutes depending on the condition being treated. Also, several cups can be placed on a patient at once. Some practitioners may use medicated oils or herbal oils on the skin prior to the procedure.
There are two main types of cupping therapy: dry cupping and wet cupping. Dry cupping uses suction only while wet cupping includes the use of suction and controlled medicinal bleeding. Wet cupping involves puncturing the skin before treatment. When the cup is applied onto the punctured areas, a small amount of blood may be shed and this is believed to let out any toxins form the body.
Cupping is considered to be a safe form of medicine. It may be used for treating respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis, arthritis and gastrointestinal disorders. The only downside to it is that it may leave one with bruises and swellings on the skin.