Skin becomes reddened due to the congestion of blood flow where superficial muscular layers have been drawn up and held within a bulbusly-shaped cup [the cup most effectively used is made of glass]. Suction is induced by fire or by modern means of a pump device. Cupping is applied where physical pain is deeper than the tissues being suctioned. It is beneficial in treatment of chronic obstructive and accumulation conditions. Cupping treatment can be administered with the cups in stationary placement, or with oil applied to the skin before cups are moved in a gliding fashion over the musculature; referred to as ‘moving cups’.
The earliest use of cupping dates to early 3oo A.D., recorded by Taoist alchemist & herbalist, Ge Hong as ‘Fire Jar QI’ [Huo Quan QI]. Cups would also be boiled in an herbal decoction just prior to applying to the skin, accentuating effects by fusing herbs into the cupping treatment. Cupping over an acupuncture needle is a current method chosen for the treatment of arthralgia. And in certain cases, blood letting [Luo Ci ‘Vessel Pricking’] a few drops of blood with a 3-edged lancet, and then applying the cup over the site, strongly rectifies toxic heat with blood stasis.
Displays of the distinctive, temporary, circular residual marks from cupping treatment.