Cupping therapy is an ancient technique, with influences from China, Greece and Egypt (with Traditional Chinese Medicine being the major influencer). It has been used for centuries, and its popularity continues to grow as an additional form of bodywork. Cups are used to suction soft tissue, drawing the skin up into the cup and separating the layers of superficial fascia. The suction draws the blood to the level of the skin, creating a vacuum (through negative pressure) below the skin, resulting in new blood arriving.
There are many different types of cups used. Plastic and silicone are most commonly used by health practitioners. Glass cupping ( also known as fire cupping) which is reserved for Registered Acupuncturists, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Naturopathic Doctors. The addition of fire to help create the suction will introduce heat to the treatment.
The pressure created in the cups range from light to strong depending on tolerance and goal of the treatment. Cups can be placed over areas as a diagnostic tool, to determine which areas have the most restriction. Retention cupping or stationary cupping is when multiple cups are placed over a body area and left for 5 - 15 minutes. You can also incorporate active or passive movement of a body part to this technique. Sliding or Gliding cupping is a technique that is utilized over large, flat body surfaces (bony prominences are avoided) and you slide or move the cup around. Flash Cupping (generally used with fire cupping) is when a cup is alternately placed, lifted and replaced in rapid succession producing many small suctions. This method is most commonly used over local areas of numbness or declining function.