Cupping – improve blood flow and promote cell repair
The technique of cupping is simple. Traditional in China bamboo cups where used, and now silicon and plastic are popular in the West, but most often a specially made glass jar is used, a flame is inserted creating a vacuum affect. The jar is then placed onto the skin and by drawing on the tissues, the cupping automatically draws on or mobilises the local fluids. It is a highly effective way of dispersing stagnant blood around old injuries or areas of overuse, eg, frozen shoulder, or back pain. Therefore, any of the pathogenic factors (“malevolent spirits”) such as Heat, Cold or Damp will be dispersed.
Cups can often leave a bruise like mark, which will indicate the level of congestion or invasion of the local tissues. You will be able to observe through the glass jar an immediate discoloration of the skin and a red colour indicates Heat; dark red/purplish indicates chronic heat and/or stagnant blood; a white sheen is indicative of cold; moisture gathering in the jar indicates the presence of damp. Bruising will disperse gradually over a few days.
Cups are commonly used on the back points as they can be used on the scapula or on top of the shoulders as well as around the sacrum and buttocks. Any area of soft tissue is available for cupping if the skin is flat enough to create the suction. It’s important to note excessively hairy skin can first be oiled to facilitate a stronger grip.
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