Cupping is an ancient practice using fire in a glass cup or jar to create an absence of oxygen and a vacuum. It is placed over muscular areas of the body in order to create suction. Cupping therapy is used to promote circulation, relax tight muscles, improve circulation, decrease pain, and remove toxins. It helps to break up tight muscle fibers and pulls out stagnant blood in order to promote circulation and cell repair.
The color of the skin after cupping is indicative of how much stagnation is present in the area. Some people will get dark purple “hickeys” or bruises that can last for a couple of weeks and some people won’t turn any color at all. The more stagnation present, the darker the color will turn after the cups are placed. Cupping for muscle recovery and relaxation has gained popularity as people have seen marks on athletes (such as Michael Phelps) who use it to help their bodies recover after intense training.
Cupping has many other uses that are not as widely known. Cupping is used for acne and rashes, and can be used to treat a variety of diseases including constipation, asthma, and the common cold.
The marks left behind after cupping are temporary and cupping is generally not painful; in fact, many people find it feels as good, or similar to a massage.