Cupping is a method of treating disease that is caused by local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in a cupping jar, usually by means of heat, which is then applied directly to the skin. The underlying tissue is drawn up into the jar forming an area of blood stasis. This appears bruising to the area. In ancient times, animal horns and bamboo jars were used, principally to drain pustulating sores.
Later this method was used to treat consumptive and rheumatic diseases. Today jars are made mostly out of glass to standard sizes and specifications, although bamboo jars are still occasionally used.
Cupping is generally indicated in the treatment of:
- Arthritic pain,
- abdominal pain,
- stomach ache,
- common cold,
- low back pain,
- painful menstruation,
- insect and
- poisonous snake bite.
While cupping is an extremely effective treatment for colds, flu, for a wide variety of muscle strain injuries and for drawing out toxins, it does tend to leave large areas of bruising and depending on the severity of the injury can be uncomfortable for the patient.
These bruises are not dangerous and disappear in a few days.