The ancient art of cupping has been utilized by healers and lay people in many cultures. Susan Johnson, LAc, referred to as “the Queen of Cupping, offers this explanation:
Cupping is a suction technique designed to pull toxin build-up and muscle spasm from the body’s deeper tissue to the surface of the skin. The cells of the body use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide; when the energy is blocked the cell waste or carbon dioxide gets blocked. This is called acid or toxin build-up.
Physical pain implies a blockage in the flow of energy through through a particular area. When toxins or cell waste stagnate in the muscles or joints, it can be very difficult for the body to get rid of this waste, causing further blockage and discomfort.
Utilizing cupping techniques we are able, by vacuum or suction, to pull the blockage out of the deeper tissue and move it to the skin’s surface. Once on the surface, it is much easier for the body to eliminate toxins through the superficial blood supply or capillary system. Cupping is said to increase microperfusion (blood flow) in the capillaries by 400 times. In only ten minutes of cupping, not only can we pull toxin build-up out of specific areas, but we can also pull fresh new blood into those areas, which vitalizes and restores proper flood flow.
Cupping may be used during Acupuncture appointments. Cupping is diagnostic as well as therapeutic, and can tell us three basic things.
- Location- Cupping tells us exactly where the problem is, as we usually cup an area slightly larger than the painful region, in order to ensure that the pain is completely covered. Some skin under the cups will color, and some won’t, although the same amount of suction has been used with all cups. Even on the skin under a single cup, one part may color while the rest may not. These colored areas help us identify the sources of pain and discomfort.
- Type of Issue- Cupping tells us the kind of problem with which we are dealing, as problems relating to toxin build-up or muscle spasm will cause the skin under the cup to color, whereas issues dealing with nerve or bone will not color at all.
- Severity of issue- Cupping shows us the severity of the problem. Light or moderate blockage will cause the skin under a cup to color pink or red, and it will take a day or two for this color to fade. Severe stagnation can cause the skin to color a deep scarlet, purple, or even black; it may take seven to ten days for the dark color to disperse. All of this information is helpful not only in treating the client, but in making accurate diagnosis.