Cupping is considered to be a form of acupuncture. Acupuncture itself has been practiced as a form of medicine in China for 2500 years. Cupping is an alternative to the more traditional needles.
The basic concept behind cupping is suction. The traditional method is applied by taking a glass cup and removing any air from the cup by igniting a cotton ball swabbed with alcohol. The cotton ball is then removed and the cup is then placed at a specific location on the patient’s skin. Because of the vacuum created inside the cup, the patient’s skin then rises up inside the cup and blood flow rushes to the area. This method is known as “Fire Cupping”.
Other practitioners prefer to use the suction cup method. In place of the flame, air is suctioned from the cup manually after the cup is placed on the skin of the patient.
Today, cupping is mainly recommended for the treatment of pain, gastro-intestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), and paralysis, though it can be used for other disorders as well.