Years ago, Gwyneth Paltrow stepped out onto the red carpet as onlookers sat puzzled as to what the odd circles on her back were.
That may have been one of the first times that the general public was exposed to cupping, and since then this centuries old healing tradition has become mainstream as an addendum to many acupuncture treatments.
Cupping is a painless method used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to immobilize blood flow as a way to promote healing. Using glass jars, the air inside is heated with a controlled flame and the open edge is then quickly applied to the skin forming an airtight seal to the surface. As the air inside the jar cools it forms a partial vacuum and the negative pressure enables the cup to suck the skin upwards, pulling in soft tissue, and drawing blood to that area.
Separating the skin, connective tissue and underlying musculature allows for an increase in circulation, decrease in inflammation and ultimately a faster approach to healing. Modern day applications enable the practitioner to ease muscle tension, back and joint pain, disk disorders, and aid in digestion and detoxification.