The “Phenomenon” of Chinese Medicine Cupping

 “Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured.” ~ Chinese proverb


I admit I got a good chuckle the other night watching the Olympics. The topic on every commentators mouth seemed to be cupping. As swimmers dove through the waters, you could see the circular marks baring colors on their backs almost like tattoos except these are far less permanent disappearing in a few days.

In a world where fitness and health trends run amuck, and old is new again like yoga which has actually been around for centuries (and NO Bikram did NOT create it) or the cave man diet A.K.A. Paleo which made a resurgence. Even such crazes like Barre and Zumba have been around years before they were marketed as such.

Cupping, which is actually known as Chinese Medicine Cupping, is neither new nor torture. It originated in China thousands of years ago, with the earliest practitioners using cattle horns (thank God for modern times!) in the stead of glass cups. It is a treatment that has been passed down throughout time and even made its jump into Western culture. Originally used to treat colds and boils, its uses have expanded to treat such illnesses as asthma and even snake bites. It is also used, as we saw in Rio, as a way for athletes to relieve muscle aches and pains when training.

I do it.


I don’t say it like it is a badge of honor. In actuality it is painless and does look worse then it is. Those marks? Do. Not. Hurt.

Scouts honor! (though I was never a girl scout, but I still swear!) I have had friends outside of yoga skating and running, who are convinced I torture myself. Which I do anyway. But Chinese Medicine Cupping is not one of them.

I actually find the whole process incredibly relaxing from begining to end.

But I digress. What is Chinese medicine Cupping you might ask?

Well, cupping is the use of heated glass cups (though some rural areas still use bamboo or yes even cattle horns.) placed on your back to get blood and Qi flowing. It opens up the pores and helps remove pathogens for example those that cause colds or asthma. They are generally left on the skin for about ten to fifteen minutes. There is also a process called “Walking cups” where once the cups have good suction, the practitioner will “walk” them up and down your back.

See? Completely painless, but with so many benefits! I always leave feeling refreshed and energized.

For more information check out this article from the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences and let me know your thoughts and opinions on it. Have you tried it? What was your experience?


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