This treatment is a very old style of medicine and is part of TCM Acupuncture, although it can be used as a stand-alone therapy. It is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available and can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and relax the nervous system. Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pain, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and many other conditions. As part of TCM Acupuncture, cupping can be used to address issues in the meridians of the body.
During a fire cupping treatment, the air inside special glass cups is heated briefly with a flame. As the flame goes out, the cups are placed upside down on your skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for a few minutes or removed off and on quickly. Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin. Massage oils are sometimes applied to improve movement of the glass cups along the skin. Rather than applying pressure downwards into muscles, cupping uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation.