Using Chinese cupping, as silicone or rubber medical cupping is most often referred to, is very easy and we can easily perform such a procedure at home. Chinese cups are so-called fireless cups, i.e. cups placed without the use of fire. When using them, we do not have to worry about the risk of burning or setting fire to something in the room! When placing cups, it is enough to remember about a few universal precautions and contraindications. Thanks to this article, you will find out what you need to remember and learn simple instructions for Chinese cupping.
Cupping and massage cups
Chinese cups can be used in various ways. Basically it is used for therapeutic cupping or massage cupping.
Usually, both traditional fire cups and fireless cups are used for cupping. However, nothing stands in the way of using silicone Chinese cups or rubber cups for the treatment. You just have to remember that in many cases we have to put quite a lot of them (for example, when we put cups on back). Then the number of cups contained in a standard set of Chinese cups may be insufficient (vacuum cups or glass cups are usually available in larger sets that will easily meet our home needs).
If you want to learn how to put fireless plastic cups with a pump, you can read about it here.
Chinese cupping massage
When it comes to cupping massage, fireless cups made of flexible materials such as rubber or silicone are used most of all. When we want to perform a face massage with a cup, Chinese silicone cups will work best. In turn, when we want to perform a Chinese cupping massage of larger areas of the body (e.g. back, thighs, abdomen or buttocks), rubber cups will also work well. It is better to do face massage with silicone cups because they are softer and provide greater precision of massage of the delicate facial skin. You can read more about the effects of cupping massage and how to use Chinese cups in cosmetology treatments, such as vacuum facial massage in other articles on our blog.
Place of application of Chinese cupping
Cupping cups are placed on acupuncture points (hence the other name of this procedure - acupuncture cupping) or on larger areas of the body. It all depends on the ailment that affects us and the therapeutic technique we choose. In classic cupping therapy for upper respiratory tract diseases, such as cough or cold, cups are placed on the back. For other ailments, a cupping map for specific health problems may be helpful. In turn, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, cups are used to place on acupuncture points, which is intended to affect the flow of the so-called Qi (or life energy) in the body. You can read more about where to use cups for various ailments in other articles on our blog.
Before using the cup
Before you start cupping, the skin should be prepared for the treatment by lubricating it with massage oil. For this purpose you can use any manual massage oil, such as this oil. The use of massage oil is essential when performing a Chinese cupping massage. In this case the oil improves the glide of the cup on the skin and makes the treatment much more pleasant for the patient.
How to place rubber and silicone cups?
The method of placing rubber and silicone cups looks the same and is extremely simple. Chinese cups are squeezed, put to a selected point on the body and let go. Then the underpressure created in the cup by squeezing and expanding it will lead to sucking the bubble on the skin. Depending on where we squeeze the bubble and how much we squeeze it, the suction force will be smaller or larger. The closer to the base we squeeze the cup, the stronger it will stick.
- squeezing the cup at the base = strong suction
- squeezing the cup in half = medium suction
- squeezing the cup at the tip = very light suction
How to remove Chinese cups from the skin?
When we want to finish the treatment, we have to remove the cups from the patient's (or ours) body. This is best done by gently squeezing the skin near the cup. It's a better way than pulling the cup by force. Of course, by pulling the cup we are also able to take it off the skin, but the first way will be definitely more pleasant for the patient.
Contraindications and precautions
To use Chinese cups safely, you need to remember about the basic safety rules and contraindications. The general rule of cupping says that we should not put them in the case of very weak or frail people, or elderly people. Contraindications are also: high fever, convulsions or muscle spasms and blood coagulation disorders or taking anticoagulants. Chinese cupping therapy should be approached with extreme caution in the case of children and pregnant women (in the case of pregnant women, cupping on the belly is categorically excluded). In addition, cups should be placed away from major arteries or a pulse, and away from swelling, open wounds, or skin disorders. Cups should not be placed on joints with little muscle coverage (such as the back of the elbow or front of the knee), broken bones, tumors, nipples, or body openings (such as eyes, mouth, or anus).
Rubber and silicone cups should not be used when performing the cut cupping technique, because after the procedure in which blood enters the cup, it must be disinfected with alcohol. However, alcohol can react with silicone or rubber and damage the structure of the cup reducing its usefulness. Also, Chinese cupping should not be used in conjunction with acupuncture needles or moxa, because squeezing the cup to place it may move the needle or moxa.
Other types of fireless cups
Rubber or silicone cups are just one of many types of fireless cupping. Another type of fireless cups are vacuum cups with pump or glass cups with a pear type pump.
In addition to fireless cupping, there are also other types of medical cupping - glass, copper and bamboo cups. You can read more about the different techniques of using various types of cups in other articles on our blog.