Cupping refers to an ancient Chinese practice in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (by using change in heat or by suctioning out air), so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup. In some cases, the cup may be moved while the suction of skin is active, causing a regional pulling of the skin and muscle (the technique is called gliding cupping).

Cupping is especially effective for local areas of qi and blood stagnation and is often used as a complement to acupuncture. It uses traditional round cup instruments that adhere to the skin and leave small round marks that generally recede within 2-4 days. It is very effective for pain conditions, acute colds/flu, digestive complaints, and menstrual pain.

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