Cupping falls under the medical umbrella that is TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), cupping is a therapy in which a cup (glass or plastic) is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat (with glass only) in the form of an ignited material.
In the ancient time in China, cupping method was called “horn method”. This name was due to the use of animal horns, which we have now replaced with glass and plastic.
Cupping therapy is warming and promotes the free flow of qi and blood in the meridians.
A.K.A promotes movement and healing in the body.
We have a saying in TCM that when there is blockage there is pain and when there is free flow there is no pain. We will also rarely, if ever use the application of ice. If you have every sprained your ankle you have likely applied ice immediately to stop swelling. So, imagine that ice, or cold, is restricting and stops movement (swelling). Which is ideal when there is an acute stress response to an injury like inflammation. However, when you are trying to promote movement, repair, and healing, heat is usually better.
Heat can be applied directly with a heat pad, a warming muscle patch, a hot water bottle, or indirectly with a heat lamp or sauna. The warming cupping method can also be used.
In my clinic, cupping is mostly used for aches and pains, usually in the back, neck and hips. Cupping is also beneficial for digestive complaints, allergies, asthma, cold & flu symptoms.
Cold & flu – TCM meridian theory shows us the most susceptible area of the body to be invade by external pathogens (toxins) is the back of the neck and upper back. Because of this, if someone presents with initial stages of cold or flu, I will apply cupping to the upper back and neck area. Here, I am pulling the toxins out of the body before they can penetrate further and create a full blown sickness.
Allergies & Asthma – based on the meridian pathways and anatomical positioning of the lungs, cupping for these symptoms will also be done in the same area. Cupping over the back of the lungs can help loosen up phlegm congestion and release any heat from the body. This can manifest as a productive/phlegmy cough, wheezing, dry cough and throat, and itchy and congested nasal passage.
Digestive complaints – for digestive issues, I will cup over specific acupuncture points on the back side of the body that connect with the organs and meridians of the digestive system. Occasionally, I will also cup over the abdomen in cases of inflammation and constipation.
Curious if cupping is right for you? Lets chat!