Cupping is an ancient form of therapy based on the meridian theory in which special cups are placed on the skin of the body to create suctions. It aims to remove any stagnation in the body and opens up the meridians thereby allowing Qi to flow freely. According to Chinese medicine theory, cupping is the best way of opening up the meridians on a person’s back to rejuvenate the body.
Glass cups are used for cupping in our clinic because they produce strong suction effect and are easy to sterilize. Glass cupping involves setting a cotton ball on fire. As the fire goes out, the cup is put upside down on the skin. A vacuum effect is created when the air inside the cup cools down. This causes the skin to rise and redden as the blood vessels expand.
There are many different cupping techniques:
Stationary cupping is most commonly used in our clinic; in which heated glass cups are placed on the skin for 5 to 15 minutes depending on the conditions. Stationary Cupping is generally used for musculoskeletal conditions and digestive disorders. It is also used to balance and rejuvenate the body.
Sliding cupping is mainly for loosening up tight muscles and releasing rigid tissues and stubborn knots. It involves applying oil to the skin and sliding the Cups from one area to another to cover a larger area. It also produces more pulling effect compared to stationary cupping and is commonly used to ease the tensions, aches and pains on the back and shoulders.
Flash Cupping is the technique where the cups are placed on the body and then quickly removed, in order to provide a milder stimulation. This technique is mainly for children, seniors and people with weak constitutions.
Wet Cupping is aimed at removing harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing. It involves drawing out a small quantity of blood by making light, tiny cuts on the skin before the cups are put on the skin. It is commonly used in case of acute sprains and strains accompanied by blood congestion.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy, which consists of burning dried mugwort (moxa) on the skin or near the body. It can be used to prevent diseases and maintain health as part of nourishing treatments to help strengthen the organs and immune system. It warms the meridians and expels cold. It can be used to promote circulation over areas of chronic pain or muscle tension. It is especially used for pain that is worse with exposure to cold or damp weather, as with some types of arthritis pain.
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Moxibustion can be applied directly or indirectly. Direct moxibustion is to place some lit moxa grains on the skin and remove them after just a few seconds. One of the indirect methods is to hold a moxa stick with the burning end very close to the skin to allow heat penetrate to the body. Another indirect method involves lighting a small moxa cylinder at the end of an acupuncture needle until the moxa is burnt off. Heat is driven down to the body through the needle shaft to enhance the outcome of acupuncture.