If you have ever been to the beach and saw somebody walking around with a pattern of large round bruises on their back they have probably been treated by an acupuncturist with cupping.

Cupping is a procedure that uses suction cups to help draw the extra fluid that is present in sore and stiff muscles closer to the surface. When this happens relief is experienced because pressure is removed from the nerves in the muscle tissue. Lactic acid contained in the fluid is likely to be drawn out of the muscle tissue through this suction action also.

Bruising does not always result from getting Cupped but if you are quite fair or anemic it is likely to show more and this can put people off getting it which is a shame because when used appropriately cupping brings relief of muscle pain and stiffness.

The use of cupping is common in Chinese Medicine but cupping has been used a long time in Eastern Europe too and in recent times has been discovered by many physio therapists.

Cupping is also commonly used in TCM (and Eastern Europe) to treat colds and flu, the cups are commonly placed on the upper back to do this. The rationale that is offered for this practise is that perverse energy enters the body through wind exposure which can give you a cold. By literally sucking out the pathogenic energy the symptoms are claimed to be reduced.

Whether you are employing the use of cupping to sooth over-exercised muscles or to alleviate the symptoms of a cold the results are often quite impressive, it usually does seem to work.

As already stated Cupping can leave bruises that might not go very well with your new backless ball gown but otherwise the appropriate skilled use of Cupping is quite side effect free, non-invasive and only mildly uncomfortable (if uncomfortable at all).

Bamboo or glass cups are briefly heated on the inside then quickly placed on the skin, as the air inside the cup cools a suction is formed, this is how Cupping is traditionally performed. In more recent times small pistol-grip styled hand pumps and plastic suction cups with valves have been designed to do Cupping, they both work quite well.

It is no doubt easier for many to visualize excess fluid being sucked out from stiff muscle than it is to think about invisible pathogenic energy being physically drawn from your upper back but there are many things in health science that we are yet to learn about. Whatever the case Cupping really does seem to help people feel better.

Cupping can be easily used with other types of therapy, after a Cupping is applied for instance it is easier to make an impression on stiff muscles with massage, stretching and manipulative techniques.

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