When the world was watching American top Athletes' excellent performance at 2016 Olympic Games, the audience's attention was also attracted by the dark spots and purple circles on the athletes' backs, shoulders, and legs. After the initial curiosity, people want to know more about cupping therapy. As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I have been providing cupping therapy in my service for 15 years. My knowledge and experiences allow me to share with you more about cupping therapy.
Like acupuncture, cupping therapy is one of the therapies in traditional Chinese medicine and has been practiced for thousands of years. Because cupping therapy can successfully treat many medical conditions without any side effects, the techniques are easy to learn, and the equipment is affordable, in China, Cupping therapy is used in hospitals, clinics and homes. Most households keep cupping therapy tools at home for family members to take care of commonly see health issues, such as relieve pain and common cold. In China many public bathhouses offer cupping therapy for people to get regular treatment as a healthy life style for maintaining good health. Therapists who perform cupping therapy at public bath do not need special training and certificates, but their developed skills can guarantee that you will feel great, so relaxed, energetic, and your body felt lighter after cupping therapy. Do not let those purple marks on the American athletes' bodies scare you. From the pictures circulate online we can see those athletes put the suction cups to each other. Since nobody show them the techniques of cupping, that is how they left the marks on their bodies. Last 15 years I treated hundreds of cases with cupping therapy, only 5% of them had marks. Those marks are not bruises of the skin and they don't cause any pain. Those marks disappear completely in a few days. In fact, cupping therapy has deep cleansing effect on skin and at the same time blood is brought to the surface of the body to nourish the skin. After a few of cupping treatment the person's skin condition will show obvious improvement. Both muscles and skin become smooth and firm.
There are several cupping techniques. The traditional cupping method is using glass cups or bamboo cups, and use fire to burn out the air inside of the cup to create a vacuum that make the cup sucked on the skin. According to the patient's condition and treatment plan, the cups may stay at certain spots for 10 to 15 minutes or the therapist holding a cup and moving around to cover a large area. With fire cupping you can perform another technique called "flashing cupping". To master this technique you need have a little training and practice.
In 1990s vacuum cupping became popular because it is easier to learn and perform. Vacuum cupping use plastic cups and a pump. Instead of using fire, vacuum cupping use a pump to create pressure inside the cup. With the pump, you can easily control the pressure depend on you want to leave the cups on certain spots or you want to perform moving cupping technique. When perform moving cupping you should make sure there is less pressu