Cupping is a very effective method of treatment used for diseases such as coughing, chest congestion, common cold, arthritic pain, muscular pain, stomach-ache, and headache. It is contra-indicated for high- fever, allergic skin conditions or ulcerated sores, area of thin muscle or boney angles and depression and on the back or abdomen of pregnant women. There are many other considerations your practitioner takes into account when deciding if this method is appropriate.
How Does Cupping Work?
A vacuum is created in a glass or bamboo "cup" with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol (See Fig. 1). The cotton ball is ignited and inserted into the cup which will evacuate some air creating a vacuum (See Fig. 2). The cotton ball is withdrawn and the cup is quickly placed on the skin. The cup remains in place for 5-15 minutes and may leave a bruise. Sometimes a medium such as Kwan Loong oil is applied to the mouth of the cup or the patient's skin, then the practitioner slides the cup along a large body surface such as the back or thigh until skin redness is noted. This technique is known as moving cupping or sliding cupping (See Fig. 3). Other methods of cupping combine the use of acupuncture needles or herbal medicine preparations such as ginger juice.
Is Cupping Painful?
Cupping is generally not painful. Some people who suffer from fibromyalgia or Epstein-Barr disease or other chronic muscular disorders or chronic viral diseases may feel some discomfort and should report it to their practitioner. Most patients report significant improvement after a cupping treatment.
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