Cupping is a therapeutic technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which we create suction over large muscle areas using special glass or plastic cups. Sometimes these cups have a suction pump attached, and sometimes we can use a small lit flame to create a vacuum within the cup to create suction. Cupping can be used to release muscle tension, break up scar tissue, relieve stress, and stimulate acupuncture points. Cupping is also frequently used over points on the upper back to treat cough or lung issues.
While cupping for musculoskeletal issues is gaining traction as more and more celebrities give it a try, it can also be a powerful therapeutic treatment for emotional issues, as well. This is because there are special acupuncture points that run along the back that correspond to each aspect of our emotional system. These points are on the Bladder meridian on what is called the “Outer Bladder Line”, and run in a straight line down the inner border of the shoulder blade, between the shoulder blade and the spine. They continue down the back to the pelvis. By treating these special points, as well as other acupuncture points that correlate to our emotional energy, cupping can stimulate our emotional center and help the body to integrate or rebalance difficult emotions.
There is also an idea, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, that cupping withdraws toxins from the acupuncture systems and the local tissues. “Toxins” can be more physical – such as excess fluid, lymphatic build-up, or environmental pollutants – but can also be emotional in nature – such as deep-seated negative patterns, or negative feelings that we haven’t yet processed and “let go” of. These toxins are every bit as real as the physical ones and are stored in our bodies in much the same way. Cupping has an effect of drawing out these toxins so that our body is better able to rebalance itself, both physically and mentally.
Thus, by stimulating acupuncture points that correspond to our emotional systems, cupping can help better circulate our emotional energy (so we don’t get as “stuck” in a certain emotional pattern), release toxins (so we can rid ourselves of old emotional patterns that no longer serve us), and bring our emotional selves more into balance.
When indicated, cupping leaves red or purple marks on the skin in the shape of the cups. These marks fade in 2-7 days, depending on the severity of the condition. Usually, with successive treatments, the cup marks will become less intense as the symptoms that the patient is experiencing are reduced.