Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (either by heat or suction) in order to draw and hold skin and superficial muscles inside the cup. It is based on the meridian theory of the body. Cupping can remove any stagnation in the body and open the meridians so that Qi (energy) can flow freely. It can also help rejuvenate certain meridians and organs that are not functioning at their best. From a scientific stand-point, cupping is known to help activate the lymphatic system, promote blood circulation, and is good for deep tissue repair. It is generally recommended for the treatment of pain, gastro-intestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), and paralysis, although it does have applications for other problems.
Cupping is applied to certain acupuncture points as well as to parts of the body that have been affected by pain. Cupping is mostly applied on the back as it is easier to be performed there. Most practitioners use the back shu points or bladder meridian and the dazhui. It is frequently used after acupuncture, blood letting, or plum blossom treatment.