I have had some patients ask about cupping. Cupping is done primarily to move stagnation. Very often this relates to pain or a blocked channel causing pain. As a licensed massage therapist for 19 years, I tend to utilize more of those techniques in this instance. Cupping can also be helpful in moving what we call Damp, meaning congestion and phlegm in places such as the sinuses and chest; this is quite useful for various types of head and chest colds. Cupping can be done by gliding over the skin, or start and stop methods depending, again, on what we are trying to balance and move. The marks left by the cups are not bruises. A bruise is composed of broken blood vessels caused by a trauma to the body. The marks left by cups can range anywhere from light pink, to red dots, to purple, again, depending on what and how much is getting moved in the channels or area. Along with better movement of Qi, blood and lymph, one may also experience a movement of emotions. This is normal, and is necessary as that may be the thing blocking the channel.
Cupping may be part of a treatment or the main treatment. When treating children, they do not always want to be needled. This is true of adults as well! Cupping can be used as an alternative especially when many needles are required.