Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
What is “cupping”? How is it done and what is it used for?
A: Cupping is a treatment modality used in traditional medical practices of many cultures. In Chinese medicine, it is often combined with acupuncture or moxabustion in order to address various conditions.
The most common use for cupping is for localized pain and musculoskeletal conditions. The cups are usually clear glass bulbs that the practitioner places on the body with the help of a flaming cotton ball or manual pump to create a vacuum and draw out pathogens from the skin. It is not uncommon to receive large red or blue skin blemishes after a treatment. These are normal and will subside within two to three days.
Here are some additional resources to learn more about cupping: