Cupping massage refers to the ancient Chinese therapeutic practice of applying cups that are suctioned onto various parts of the body. The suctioning action is often created by the use of heat within the cup, generating negative pressure. The local congestion warms and promotes the free flow of qi and blood, dispelling energetic pathogens, diminishing swelling, and/or relieving pain.
The first historical record of cupping in practice occurred in 281-341 A.D. by the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong. During this time, the cups used were made of animal horns for wound healing where pustules were drained to rid infectious material.
Today, modern day cups are primarily made from glass, plastic, or bamboo and is indicated for a variety of soft tissue pain syndromes, headaches, respiratory disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, and the treatment of the common cold.
Cupping is contraindicated in areas of acute inflammation, in cases of high fever, wound sites, or the abdominal area or low back during pregnancy.