The History of Cupping
The therapy of fire cupping has been utilized by the Chinese for thousands of years, but its origins can be traced back as far the ancient Egyptians in the third century BC. It has even been said that Hippocrates and Galen were great advocates of cupping. Early recordings describe creating a partial vacuum in animal horns, bamboo tubes, or clay pots, and then applying them to the skin of an individual. The negative pressure created caused the underlying tissue to be pulled into the cup, resulting in an increase of blood flow to the area. This therapy was used to treat a wide range of ailments and was even used in emergency medical situations.
Cupping Today in Our Clinic
Today, we use specialized glass or silicone cups that have been properly cleaned and sterilized prior to each use. A flame is used inside the glass cup to create the same vacuum effect before they are placed onto the skin of the patient. In most cases, a topical liniment is applied to the skin of the patient before the fire cupping treatment begins – this further increases blood flow to the area and also allows us to comfortably slide the cups along the surface of the skin while maintaining the suction in the cups.
What does it treat?
We primarily use traditional fire cupping (a.k.a. myofascial decompression release) in our clinic as a way to alleviate pain and tightness in the body, improve overall range of movement, detoxify the body, and help alleviate colds and other respiratory ailments. The sensation experienced during a cupping treatment is best describe by patients as a “reverse massage” and most individuals find the experience to be very enjoyable (with many people even describing results that surpass a traditional deep tissue massage).
What should I expect during and after the treatment?
The whole process typically takes between 15 to 20 minutes and the treatment can be booked as a separate service or may be added as a complimentary service at the end of a regular acupuncture treatment. The cups will often leave red/purple marks on the back, known as petechieae, that will fade away between 2 to 10 days. These markings appear in areas of stagnant blood flow on the body. They are not painful to the touch and they fade away as the body increases overall blood flow to area to further aid in the healing and recovery process.