Scottsdale Acupuncture


What Is Cupping? – Part 1

Posted Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 by

What is Cupping

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture in Scottsdale, AZ, our practitioners often use cupping on patients for a variety of issues. There are many questions most people have about this ancient Chinese medical modality, so we wanted to take the time to provide answers about this amazing treatment method.

What is cupping?

The most common question asked by patients – and the general public – is, “What is cupping?” We have taken the time to present a very detailed explanation on our website, so if you have the time please visit our ‘cupping therapy’ page. A more concise explanation is that cupping is a treatment method that uses glass or plastic cups to create suction to pull the skin and muscles.

The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, alleviate stagnation, reduce pain and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. [Link]

What types of cupping styles are used?

There are two different types of cupping methods that are used at Above & Beyond Acupuncture. The first type is stationary cupping; this is when the cups stay in one location for the duration of the treatment. The second type of cupping is running cupping (also known as sliding cupping); this is when the cups are moved over certain affected areas. With this version, a layer of oil, usually organic sunflower oil, is applied over the desired area. The cups are then attached and are moved around for a short duration of time. Running cupping can feel more intense but has the ability to move out more stagnation, resolve pain and effect change in a much shorter amount of time.

What is the difference between glass and plastic cups?

Patients are often curious about the difference between the types of cups and how they are used. At Above & Beyond Acupuncture we use plastic and glass cups.

The plastic cups create suction using a handheld pump. These types of cups are generally smaller than their glass counterparts; the advantage is that the amount of suction can be adjusted depending on how many pumps are used.

When glass cups are employed a flame will be used to create the suction. This is accomplished by using a pair of hemostats to grasp a cotton ball that is soaked in alcohol; the cotton ball is then set on fire and placed inside the cup. When the flame enters the cup it burns out all the oxygen and creates a vacuum. The cup is then placed on the patient and will pull the skin into the cup. This procedure is done in a very safe manner where all safety precautions are taken to protect the patient and practitioner.

How long does a cupping session last?

Depending on the conditions/ailments being treated, and the cupping style being used, cups will usually stay on the patient anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. During that time the practitioner will either stay in the treatment room or check on the patient to make sure they are comfortable and that the cups are not too tight.

In part 2 of this series we share information about why you would need cupping, how you might feel after being cupped and what you should do after a cupping treatment.  If you are interested in experiencing cupping at Above & Beyond Acupuncture, please book an appointment online. We hope to see you soon!