Cupping is a form of alternative pain therapy that recently left some curious marks on actress and new mom Gwyneth Paltrow.(look at the lower rightside photo.) Cupping therapy is a treatment in which the practitioner creates suction in a cup. And then applies that cup to the body, which then draws the skin up around the cup, under the cup. The traditional method uses fire. Acupuncturists use a cotton ball and wets it with alcohol. Then ignites the soaked cotton ball and places it in the cup. Fire cupping uses a flame to create suction in the cup and patient's skin gets sucked up and rises under the cup as blood rushes up.

Cupping at Healing Hands Acupuncture & Herb ClinicCupping brings fresh blood to the area, So it tends to improve circulation. It also helps open up the chest and benefit the lungs and can even benefit menstrual problems and digestive problems, too. Most commonly, it’s used for aches and pains of various types as well as respiratory problems, cough, wheezing, things like that.

Cupping therapy is usually used as part of acupuncture or body work treatment. It’s been part of Chinese medicine for over 2,500 years. Originally, animal horn was the original cup. The horn method is the original thing. Later on brass, ceramic, bamboo cups were used. Fire cupping is the traditional, most effective method. Some practitioners choose to use the suction cup method, where you pump up the suction cup and that’s it. Same kind of thing - just doesn’t use flame.

There are very few conditions in which cupping should not be used, such as high fever, skin disease or tendency to bleed easily.

Each cupping session last about 10 to 15 minutes and it can be repeated, once the marks are cleared, until the problem is resolved. To get a treatment, seek a licensed acupuncturist.