Silent Lotus Health
Eliz Erman-Britton Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dipl. Ac (NCCAOM), Licensed Acupuncturist
Cupping is one of the oldest methods of healing in Traditional Chinese medicine. Historically, practitioners used hollowed-out animal horns or carved out bamboo stalks for cups. The modern method of delivery for many acupuncturists today is glass cups. Clear thick glass cups are preferred because they do not break as easily, and they allow the practitioner to evaluate the effects of treatment while it is being given.
A cupping session may last between 5-30 minutes. Several cups may be placed on your body at the same time. Essential oils or other plant oils (olive oil etc.) may be applied to the skin before a treatment. This allows for the cups to create a stronger seal on the skin and easily move across the surface of the skin. Cupping can cause swelling and bruising of the skin, but should resolve with in a few days. The location and coloration of the bruises can be used diagnostically. Cupping can be used for pain management, deep tissue massage, detoxification, and gastrointestinal disorders.
How is cupping performed?
The art of cupping rests in the ability of the practitioner to create a vacuum seal on the skin. A cotton ball is set on fire then inserted into the glass cup and removed quickly. This allows the flame to use up the available oxygen in the cup. After the burning cotton ball is removed, the cup is then quickly placed on the surface your skin. The lack of oxygen and loss of heat from the flame cause an immediate suction creating a vacuum seal. The strength of the suction can be adjusted by the practitioner after the cup is placed on your skin.