Cupping is a therapy in which glass jars are suctioned onto the skins surface through negative pressure. The goal of cupping is to activate the body’s self-healing powers when is not able to do so on its own. The suction from the cups creates extravasates which cause strong irritation to the area. This activates the body’s local and general healing powers, creating an anti-inflammatory effect which in turn supports rapid recovery from disease caused by inflammation. Cupping stimulates the lymphatic system, increases blood flow to the muscles and loosens adhesions in the myofascial tissue and muscle tissue. From a Chinese medicine perspective cupping stimulates the flow of Qi and the blood which balances the body’s energy and rids the body of many diseases.
Commonly cupping leaves marks on the skin that varies in pattern and colour (from light red to dark purple). These marks usually last from 3 days to a week or more if the patient is sick, sedentary, under severe stress, or has had a severe trauma in the area. These marks are commonly referred to as bruising because of how they look however it is dead static blood, lymph, cellular debris, pathogenic factor and toxins that are being released from the deeper tissue layer to the skin surface. A bruise is painful and caused by trauma to the blood vessels, cupping marks are not caused by trauma to the blood vessel and are not painful. Over a series of treatments the marks will lighten and disappear faster as stagnation in the area clears. Eventually cupping will leave little to no marking