Many patients often ask us about Cupping, also known as "Flash Cupping" or "Fire Cupping". Many cultures believe that this technique using glass or plastic cups can pull out "chills" from the body. It is commonly used when a person is just coming down with a cold and has chest or respiratory problems.
More frequently however, cupping has received worldwide fame in the news as a result of many athletes during the 2016 Olympics seen with the very specific round red or purple marks left by cupping. The use of cupping in sports acupuncture is generally for treating neck, shoulder, hip, or back pain. This procedure stimulates blood flow in the areas being treated and helps the muscles gain oxygen in order to reduce pain and increase performance.
Patients seek cupping treatment for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
For the procedure, specialized cups are placed on the skin. Then, heat or an air pump is used to create suction between the cup and the skin, pulling the skin slightly up and away from the underlying muscles. This creates a negative pressure, the opposite of what is found in a typical massage. The suction typically lasts for only a few minutes, and does leave a mark that will last for several days, as stagnant blood is pulled from the capillaries, allowing newer blood to rush in. As a result, the muscles should feel much better after treatment.