Chinese Cupping has been an effective pain reduction therapy which originated thousands of years ago, and was practiced in many cultures (Egyptian, Middle East, American Indians to name a few) around the same period irrespective of each other.
Muscular pain is caused by a contraction of muscle fibres which then inhibits blood flow to the area (the blood is what carries oxygen and nutrients for the muscle) and when the body doesn’t receive enough blood the pain signal follows. Cupping is like receiving a massage x 10. Cupping involves placing glass, bamboo or plastic jars on the skin and creating a vacuum by suctioning out the air. The underlying tissue is raised, or sucked, partway into the cup. This suction opens up the muscle fibres and draws in the blood, enabling the contracted fibres or muscle ‘knot’ to release and allowing the pain and tension to dissolve.
The Chinese cupping method has the function of warming and promoting the free flow of Qi and blood in the meridians, dispelling cold, heat and dampness, diminishing swellings and pains. In western terms it also breaks up muscles fibres and increases blood circulation to areas of contraction and stiffness.
Sometimes cupping may be combined with bloodletting to treat acute sprains accompanied by blood stasis in the points, meridians and muscles. Occasionally a cup may be placed over the top of an acupuncture needle or often they are moved up and down a channel or large muscle (migratory or slidding cupping).
Slidding cupping feels like an amazing massage when done on your back to relieve muscle tension, knots and spasms.