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  • Jill McGovan

What is Cupping?

Cupping is one of the tools of an acupuncturist. Cups are placed on the body after the air is warmed by using a lit material. (I use an alcohol soaked cotton ball.) As the air cools the skin is pulled up into the cup creating suction which releases deep stagnation alleviating pain and congestion. Traditional Chinese medicine explains that qi stagnation is the root of pain and congestion. Cupping moves old stuck qi reinvigorating the flow and restoring health. Western medicine explains that cupping creates micro-trauma at the site of the cups reinvigorating stalled healing processes alleviating lung congestion and musclo-skeletal pain. Cupping is effective for old strains and sprains that crop up, muscle tension that develops with stress, new injury or disease processes, phlegmy coughs and chest congestion associated with asthma, colds or the flu. Some forms of acne can be treated with cupping.

Some commonly treated conditions with cups are

Back pain

Shoulder tension

Neck tension and pain

Stress related pain, stiffness and soreness

Congested lungs

Lingering coughs

Old injuries that cause stiffness

Some forms of acne

Cupping feels like a strong massage. It is intense as it works on layers beneath the surface and it can leave a mark. This image made cupping famous during the 2016 Olympics.

The marks will fade over the next week or 10 days, something to consider if you have an important skin revealing event coming up.

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