How is Cupping Carried out

Glass cups are generally used for cupping, although bamboo cups are also used. Glass cups are fitted with a valve that attaches to a small hand-operated pump, allowing the practitioner to suck out air without having to rely on fire to depressurise the cup first. It also gives them greater control over the amount of suction. The modern name for cupping is baguanfa or suction cup therapy.

In order to allow the cups to move over the skin easily, oil is used. Oils that have been infused with extracts of medicinal herbs are particularly useful. The cups are applied at room temperature, and there is some friction generated with moving cups, causing a small but significant amount of heat, especially if warming oil is also used.

Cups are generally left in place for ten minutes although the time can range from five to fifteen minutes. The skin will redden due to the congestion of blood flow. The cup is removed from the skin by pressing the skin on one side, allowing some outside air to enter and thus equalise the pressure.

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