طب سوزنی شیراز
طب سوزنی شیراز

Cupping is one of the common less invasive methods in different practices of traditional and complementary medicine. It can be categorized to warm and cold cupping. In warm cupping, glass cups are attached to specific body points using the vacuum induced by ignition of alcohol-wet swabs. In cold cupping the vacuum is induced mechanically by pumps. Cupping can improve blood and qi flow in the site of treatment. Once attached using the vacuum, the cup can be treated in three different ways:

  1. Static cupping: the cups are left at the place of treatment for a period of time which is usually 5-10 minutes. The place of attachment is an acupoint or where a trauma has made pain or limitation of motion. Sometimes, a needle has been inserted in the place before attaching the cup or a small wound has been made to induce blood-letting.
  2. Intermittent cupping: for the patients who do not tolerate attachment of a cup for a period of time, a cup will be attached and detached repeatedly for several times to induce the therapeutic effect. This kind of treatment is usually recommended to children, young ladies, people with small bodies, etc. or for body parts where the skin and muscle are thin such as head and extremities.
  3. Sliding cupping: in some cases after applying some oil, the cup is attached and gently slid over the skin on specific directions. This method is usually used over the back, buttocks and abdomen. It can be considered as a combination of cupping and guasha where the therapeutic effect is summed.

Although cupping is considered as low invasive with minimal adverse effects, it can cause redness, hotness or ecchymosis in place of treatment by increasing the regional blood flow and causing negative pressure. Such adverse effect is temporary and will disappear after few days. However some patients may complain of the cyanotic red circle at the place of treatment. Therefore, the patient should be informed about such a risk before the start of treatment.

Cupping should never been applied on damaged skin, on the place of deep vein thrombosis, in patients suffering from malignancies or on broken bones. In pregnant mothers and during menstrual period, special caution should be considered before applying cupping.

After each use, the cup should be well washed and sterilized to avoid transmitting infectious diseases among patients.