Cupping is an ancient technique, used in many cultures, in which a special cup is applied to the skin and held in place by suction. The suction draws superficial tissue into the cup, which may either be left in place or moved along the body. Cupping brings fresh blood to the area and helps improve circulation. Traditional cupping, sometimes referred to as “fire cupping,” uses heat to create a vacuum-like suction inside of glass cups. In modern times, cups that use a small pump to create suction have also been introduced.
Cupping therapy was first discussed in old medical textbooks in the Western World and was described as a medical practice that was used by Egyptians. There have also been accounts of Hippocrates using the Cupping Method for internal disease. Fire Cupping has also been practiced throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. Cupping therapy is an alternative form of medicine and is perhaps better known as a traditional Chinese Medicine, like acupuncture.
Cupping used to be performed using hollowed out animal horns and was a method employed to treat boils, snakebites, and skin lesions. The cupping method was said to pull toxins from the body. The application of cupping throughout the years has evolved from the use of animal horns to bamboo cups, and then to the glass cups, we see used today. Therapy cups can also be made from earthenware and silicone materials that can withstand being exposed to elevated temperatures during the heating process.