Cupping is an old technique used frequently in treatments to move qi and blood and most commonly around the shoulders, neck and back. Sometimes they are left in place and other times we move move them (slide) them across the skin. Oil is used when the cups are moved.
The cups used in clinic are made of plastic or glass and are sterilised before each use. Once placed on the skin a vacuum is created in order to move qi and blood. Sometimes they are kept in one place, other times they are moved around.
Cupping isn’t painful, however it can leave red patches on the skin, like circular bruises. Although they look like bruises, the muscles have not been traumatised in any way. The redness on the skin indicates that there has been movement in the circulation of blood under and around the cups. Not all cupping will result in redness as this depends on your individual complaint.