Cupping is an ancient form of TCM treatment where our physician puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. The physician utilises glass, bamboo, ceramic or plastic cups over a painful area or acupuncture points leaving temporary marks on the skin (redness or therapeutic bruising) which will disappear within a couple of days. Cupping has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It is particularly effective at relieving conditions that create muscle aches and pains.
In some cases, once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin ; often referred to as “gliding cupping”. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup.
What are the potential side effects of cupping?
Cupping frequently causes marks on the skin. Some discomfort can occur but should not be considered as a side effect. Moderate and temporary discomfort is expected as stagnation is removed and connective tissue and muscles are loosened. The bruises for cupping can last for a few days up to weeks. It is expected that over several weeks of repeated cupping treatments, the bruising will decrease as the stagnation resolves.
Are there reasons I should not get cupping?
For patients with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia or who are being treated with anticoagulants, cupping may not be the top priority for a treatment option. Patient with these conditions should discuss and weigh the pros and cons of treatment with his/ her acupuncturist or physician before receiving the treatment.
Cupping should not be performed on sites with active inflammation, burns, infection or open wound as well.