Cupping: The cupping procedure
commonly involves creating a small area of low air pressure next
to the skin. However, there is variety in the tools used, the method
of creating the low pressure, and the procedures followed during
The cups can be various shapes
including balls or bells, and may range in size from 1 to 3 inches
(25 to 76 mm) across the opening. Plastic and glass are the most
common materials used today, replacing the horn, pottery, bronze
and bamboo cups used in earlier times. The low air pressure required
may be created by heating the cup or the air inside it with an open
flame or a bath in hot scented oils, then placing it against the
skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it contracts and draws the
skin slightly inside. More recently, vacuum can be created with
a mechanical suction pump acting through a valve located at the
top of the cup. Rubber cups are also available that squeeze the
air out and adapt to uneven or bony surfaces.
In practice, cups are normally
used only on softer tissue that can form a good seal with the edge
of the cup. They may be used singly or with many to cover a larger
area. They may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture
needle. Skin may be lubricated, allowing the cup to move across
the skin slowly.
Depending on the specific
treatment, skin marking is common after the cups are removed. This
may be a simple red ring that disappears quickly, the discolouration
left by the cups are normally from toxins penetrating the skin,
coming from inside out as a form of fluid film, and vapour left
in the cups.
It is possible that more
aggressive treatments can result in bruising especially such as
dragging the cups while suctioned from one place to another to break
down muscle fiber. Usually treatments are not painful, but treatment
is discontinued if the subject experiences more than minor discomfort.
Fire cupping is a treatment
where a cotton ball dipped in 70% or greater alcohol is lit and
the cotton ball is then introduced inside of the cup for a brief
second. The cup is then placed on the patient. As the heat dissipates,
the cooling action creates the firm suction. The cups can be moved
around the patient’s body along the meridians and at specific
points to help with immune boosting and other modalities.
air inside the cup is heated and the rim is then applied to the
skin, forming an airtight seal. As the air inside the cup cools,
it contracts, forming a partial vacuum and enabling the cup to suck
the skin, pulling in soft tissue, and drawing blood to that area.
Alternately, the suction is created by a hand-pump and blood is
allowed to collect. According to the American Cancer Society, “[a]vailable
scientific evidence does not support cupping as a cure for cancer
or any other disease”. It can leave temporary bruised painful
marks on the skin and there is also a small risk of burns.
intercourse after cupping for 2 or 3 nights
Milk for 8 to 12 hours after cupping
is reason to believe the practice dates from as early as 3000 B.C.,
the earliest record of cupping is in the Ebers Papyrus, one of the
oldest medical textbooks in the world. It describes in 1,550 B.C.
Egyptians used cupping. Archaeologists have found evidence in China
of cupping dating back to 1,000 B.C. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates
(c. 400 B.C.) used cupping for internal disease and structural problems.
This method in multiple forms spread into medicine throughout Asian
and European civilizations.
Cupping in Europe and the
Middle East grew from humoral medicine, a system of health ancient
Greeks used to restore balance through the four “humors”
in the body: blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. This system
was pervasive in European and Middle-East cultures at the time.
Humoral medicine had a brief or short revival in European medicine
in the 18th and 19th centuries, and cupping was used in this practice.
In the West, cupping therapy
was part of the basic repertoire of clinical skills a doctor was
expected to understand and practice until the latter part of the
19th century with some Eastern European countries such as in Poland
and Bulgaria continuing to practice cupping therapy to the present.
In parts of Western Europe there has been a recent upsurge in the
interest from both public and academic perspectives. Scientific
studies researching the effects of cupping therapy attempt to better
understand the mechanisms underpinning this age old medical treatment.
Societies like the British Cupping Society have contributed to its
re-emergence as an alternative therapy.