Cupping is a technique wherein glass, bamboo, or plastic cups are applied on the body as a suction device to disperse and break up stagnation and congestion by drawing energy to the surface.
Variations include gliding cupping where massage oil is applied to the skin so that the cup can be gently guided along the surface of the skin, fire cupping where the vacuum in the cup is created by the use of fire, and wet cupping where small incisions are made in the skin prior to applying the cups in order to draw blood out of the targeted area.
In addition to reliving pain and sore muscles, cupping can also be helpful in treating common colds, lung congestion, and asthma. Cupping can remove toxins and improve blood flow through arteries and veins. Cupping also benefits the digestive system by improving metabolism and relieving constipation. In 2015, the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine also described cupping as an effective treatment for acne, facial paralysis, herpes, zoster, and cervical spondylosis.