Cupping is one of my favorite TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) techniques to receive and to treat patients with. Although the outcome often looks quite scary (the round suction marks go away in a few days), it's actually an amazing therapeutic method that we can use to expel a variety of different diseases. A practitioner may decide use it if you present with the beginnings of a cold, asthma, pain, gastrointestinal problems and or one of many other issues. What you can expect: If a practitioner decides that cupping is the best therapy for you, he or she may first smooth a layer of a balm or salve on the area they will be working on in order to move the cups around smoothly. They will then light a piece of alcohol-soaked material or simply use a lighter, place it into the cup then rapidly pull it out and place the cup onto your skin. This creates a negative force which causes congestion and creates the suction where the cup has been placed. The practitioner may then slide the cups around to move the energy or stagnation in your body.
Here is another cupping method called "flash cupping."
Make sure you cover up the area that has been cupped for a few days- preferably until the cup marks heal. This is to prevent getting sick....again! Oh yes- please don't try this at home. There are potential burning risks involved and cupping should be performed by a trained practitioner.