We’re pleased to offer cupping, an ancient Chinese practice, in Montpelier and Williston, Vermont. At Integrative Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, we specialize in using cupping to treat various ailments including pains of all types from digestive problems and respiratory conditions. We’ve even been on TV demonstrating cupping! Schedule a consultation at our office in Washington or Chittenden County, Vermont to see how cupping can benefit your health.
A Traditional Chinese Medical Technique
Cupping refers to an ancient Chinese practice in which a glass or plastic cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced, so that the skin and superficial muscle layer are drawn into and held in the cup. In some cases, the cup may be moved while the suction of skin is active, causing a regional pulling of the skin and muscle (this technique is called gliding cupping).
Cupping is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine. The earliest recorded use of cupping dates to the early fourth century, when the noted herbalist Ge Hong wrote about a form of cupping in “A Handbook of Prescriptions”.
What Is Cupping Useful For?
- Respiratory Conditions
- Pain Syndromes
- Gynecological Disorders
- Digestive Disease
Why Do We Apply Cupping?
We use cupping for various conditions where there is stagnation and pain. We most often use cupping for back pain, shoulder pain, asthma, bronchitis, and headaches.
How Does It Work?
In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball which is soaked in alcohol, lit, then placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum. As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over a specific area. Other techniques use a plastic cup and suction pump to pull the skin and muscle into the cup.
The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin lifts the muscle which helps to stimulate the flow of blood and lymph, breaking up obstructions and adhesions, and realigning muscle fibers. This results in a reduction of inflammation and pain and an increase in circulation and range of motion.
What to Expect
As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular markings on the areas where the cups were applied. These circles are painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment. Please call our office if you have received cupping and have any questions about your treatment.
Who Is Qualified to Offer Cupping?
Cupping is an excellent and effective, natural treatment for many conditions. Chinese medicine has a diagnosis process involved in determining if cupping is a recommended treatment for each individual. At IAOM, a licensed acupuncturist provides your cupping session.
Cupping is becoming a more common therapy offered. We recommend receiving cupping from providers trained in Chinese medicine for best results.