The cupping procedure commonly involves creating a small area of low air pressure next to the skin. However, there is variety in the tools used, the method of creating the low pressure, and the procedures followed during the treatment.
The cups themselves can be various shapes and may range in size from 1 to 3 inches (25mm – 75mm) across the opening. Plastic and glass are the most common materials used today. The low air pressure required may be created by heating the cup but in our office a vacuum can be created with a mechanical suction pump acting through a valve located at the top of the cup. Rubber cups are also available that squeeze the air out and adapt to uneven or bony surfaces.
In practice, cups are normally used only on softer tissue that can form a good seal with the edge of the cup. They may be used singly or in large number to cover a larger area. They may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture points. Skin may be lubricated, allowing the cup to move across the skin slowly. Cupping is used to help draw blood into an injured area but may benefit in pain reduction by helping relaxe muscles whiule helping to reduce tissue fluid congestion in the affected area. Cupping is very useful in large muscle application but may also help with poor circulatory areas such as Rotator cuff inuries, especially the Supraspinatus muscle. One side affect of cupping is the residual ring mark left which may persist for several days following a treatment but this varies depending on the degree of injury of the tissue.
*Results may vary