In my practice, acupuncture and cupping are often done together as adjunct therapies.
Cupping is used primarily to treat certain types of pain. It can be used to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion, as well as arthritis and gastrointestinal disorders. The back and stomach (and, to a lesser extent, the arms and legs), are the preferred sites for treatment.
Traditionally, in a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a flame, which is then placed inside the cup. The flame removes all the oxygen therefore creating a vacuum when the cups are then placed on the Healthy Body. In my clinic, I use silicone cups, which act the same as the glass without the need for a flame to create the vacuum. The vacuum effect anchors the cup and pulls the skin up inside. Drawing up the skin opens up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balance and realign the flow of qi, breakup obstructions, and create an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the Healthy Body.
Acupuncture involves the use of very fine, single use needles that are inserted through the skin and directly into the desired acupuncture point. According to Chinese medicine, the normal functioning of the Healthy Body depends on a balance of yin and yang energy. Acupuncture works to restore normal functioning by stimulating certain points along the meridians in order to free up the flow of Qi. Acupuncture activates our Healthy Body’s natural defense mechanisms and can increase the function of specific systems (lymphatic, endocrine, digestive, circulatory and immune system). Therefore Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide array of symptoms and TCM patterns. It is for this reason that Acupuncture is used as the main modality in every treatment whereas cupping is only used when it would benefit the patient, like in the circumstances listed above.