Cupping therapy involves the placing of either glass or plastic cups onto the skin with suction. The suction is achieved by use of an inspirator. Cupping usually causes local bruising, which helps to clear the local build-up of waste products and toxins. For this reason it is being increasingly used by professional athletes such as swimmers. The treatment is not painful and many people quite like the unusual feeling of it. The marks indicate stagnation that has been transported from deeper tissue layers up to the surface. This allows fresh blood to enter, nourish and heal the underlying areas. The colour of bruise produced depends on the level and type of stagnation, deficiency or injury in the area.
The intensity of bruising gradually decreases with subsequent treatments as the tissues are cleared and toxins systemically removed and the blood supply refreshed. Cupping regulates the flow of Qi and Blood. It can add strength and effectiveness to many therapeutic applications, particularly the following: