Cupping, Tips & Tricks

Cupping is getting popular in Western medicine. Even Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow is reported to use it http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3879447.stm.

Cupping is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which aims to remove blockage or stagnation in the flow of Qi in our body. Cupping can stimulate flow of Qi, blood, and lymph. It is used to relieve pain in the muscles, and clearing congestion in the chest, which can occur with colds and flu. Cupping involves creating vacuum suction in a cup, and then applies that cup to an area of the body. The traditional cupping uses fire to create the suction on a glass cup. Fire is introduced in the cup (the heat removes the air from the cup, thus creating vacuum), and applied it on the skin, the skin gets sucked up and drawn few millimeters into the cup. The cups are then left on the body for about 20 minutes. Fire Cupping is called "Ba Fo Guan" in Chinese, which literally means using fire to pull out the cup. Cupping is also found in various forms in the Mediterranean, Russia, the Balkans, modern Greece, and other places.

It is an easy and inexpensive technique that can be added to your practice, you can get a hold of it quickly. Here are some tips and tricks, assuming that you already has some knowledge on cupping. The information contained on this page are not meant to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified medical practitioner. We disclaim any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or misuse of the techniques presented here.

What you need:
  • Glass cups, you can buy this from specialised TCM supply store (more expensive) or from local Chinese medicine shop. An expensive one costs about $6 each, while the cheaper one is about $2. Check the lips of the cup for any chips or crack.
  • Alcohol, or methylated spirit (from local supermarket)
  • Cotton ball
  • A pair of metal tweezers or forceps.

Because you will be handling fire, cups, and also your client at the same time, place the cups next to your clients on the massage table. Tips: use a small basket to hold, transport, and store the cups.

 

Prepare a cotton ball on a pair of tweezers or forceps or other metal stick, and wet it with alcohol. Then ignites the soaked cotton ball. Be aware that the greater the fire, the stronger the suction will be.

Now here's the trick on how to apply fire to the cup:

Hold the cup in an inverted position (as in the picture on the left), and insert the fire straight into the base of the cup, hold for about 1 second, remove the fire instantly. Then place the cup immediately against the skin. Do not need to press the cup on the skin. Do not need to turn or swirl or turn the cup or fire. This is the simplest and effective way to create a firm suction.

Care must be taken: do not to place the fire near or on the edge/ lip of cup, it can create burn on the skin. This is the danger when swirling the fire around the cup or turning the cup, it can heat up the lip of the cup.

The suction anchors the cup to the body, and the area of skin is drawn up a few millimeters into the cup. The cups are then left on the body for about 15-20 minutes. Cover the clients with blanket or towel for warmth, especially during cold weather.

Clients will feel warm, pulling and stretching of the skin and muscles, but not pain. If pain is reported, immediately remove the cups. Some clients are very sensitive and may not tolerate high suction, so start with a light suction.

 

To remove the cup, with a thumb press the skin next to the lip or edge of the cup to let air into the cup, this will release the cup easily.

There is usually a period of tenderness and may create bruises. Usually dark bruises indicate stagnation of Qi. Bruises can persist for few days up to a week. Advise the clients not to have a shower (especially with cold water) for at least 2 hours.

Cups should be washed properly to prevent contaminations. Recommended are soaked in diluted sodium hypochlorite for few hours and washed with soap water, and sun dried for storage.

(c) 2007 www.terrarosa.com.au

Where to apply? Usually along the meridian lines or acupressure points. Please consult TCM books and charts or attend a workshop for more information. The book by Ilkay Chirali provides a comprehensive reference to cupping and treatment for common ailments.
The information contained on this page are not meant to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified medical practitioner. We disclaim any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or misuse of the techniques presented here.
 

(c) 2007 www.terrarosa.com.au

 

For more information, this is the most complete reference to Cupping.

 

 

lkay Zihni Chirali,  Cupping Therapy

This unique reference explores all aspects of cupping-- an ancient, predominantly Eastern technique in which heated cups are applied to the body for beneficial healing effects. Guidelines are applied to the treatment of common medical conditions, with answers to readers' questions concerning safety and outcome. Cupping therapy treatments described for common disorders ranging from abdominal pain, stroke, and asthma, diarrhea, and back pain. Each method is well illustrated, with differentiations between cupping practice on adults and children. Ilkay Chirali is a Member of British Acupuncture Council and Member of Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, London, UK. See Ilkay's website http://www.cuppingtherapy.co.uk/

 

 

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