How is Cupping Done?
To perform cupping, acupuncturists place glass, bamboo, or silicone cups on the skin, creating a vacuum-like seal. There are different techniques for creating this vacuum, including lighting an alcohol-soaked cotton ball inside the cup or attaching suction pumps to the end of the cups. When the cups are placed on the skin, the superficial muscle layer is drawn up into the cup, which stimulates the circulation of blood, breaks up adhesions, and creates a pathway for toxins to be drawn out of the body through the lymphatic system.
Cupping impacts blood vessels, fascia, muscles, and scar tissue. Cupping decompresses adhesions and scar tissue, relaxes muscles in spasm, decreases trigger-point pain, and decreases tissue changes and inflammation following trauma. Cumulative treatments increase muscle endurance, circulation, and lymphatic drainage. They enhance athletes’ overall ability to recover from workouts and strenuous activity.
Most pictures of cupping show it being done on the back, and that is a common place to receive cupping. However, cupping can be done on any part of the body where there’s enough skin to support the cups. For a list of different conditions that cupping can help with, see the last post titled ‘How can Cupping benefit my treatment?’.
There are two types of popular cupping techniques, stationary and gliding cups. Stationary cups are where one or several cups are placed in the treatment zone for 5-10 minutes. Gliding cups are when a topical ointment or liniment is placed on the skin and then the cups are gently moved across the skin, usually along meridians or fascia/muscle planes.
Stay tuned for next week’s post on, ‘Why does Cupping leave marks on the skin?’