Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment - Acupuncture

Chinese medicine uses many modalities of healing; acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, and diet treatment compose the most commonly used and Chinese medication cupping is gaining in popularity.

Cupping treatment

The treatment of cupping was used in China for centuries. At first it had been applied using cattle horns or cross sections of bamboo. To create negative pressure within the horn or bamboo these early ‘cups’ where boiled in water or flame has been ignited to expel the air and suck on the cups on the skin.

These cups were used mostly to draw out blood and pus in the treatment of boils. Cupping was initially used as an auxiliary method in traditional Chinese surgery. Later it was shown to be helpful in treating different diseases and developed into a distinctive therapeutic method.

The earliest record of cupping is at the Bo Shu (an ancient book written on silk), which was discovered in a tomb of the Han Dynasty. Several other early texts cite Chinese medicine cupping. Several centuries after another famed medical classic, Su Sen Liang Fang, listed an effective treatment for chronic cough and the effective treatment of poisonous snake bites using cupping treatment.

Usage of cupping

Through several thousand years of accumulated clinical experience, the clinical uses of cupping are becoming increasingly wide. Now Chinese medication cupping is used in the treatment of arthritic symptoms, asthma, the common cold, chronic cough, indigestion issues and some skin conditions. There is an expression in China:”Acupuncture and cupping, over half of those ills cured.”

In mainland China the growth of cupping treatment has been rapid. In that the 1950’s the clinical effectiveness of cupping was supported by the co-research of China and acupuncturists in the prior Soviet Union, and has been established as a formal therapeutic practice in hospitals around China.

Today, as more individuals seek alternative therapies to manage their health issues, using traditional Chinese medication, such as cupping is increasing. Much of the cupping gear and methods used today are precisely the same as they were in early times. Some electronic or mechanized pumps are devised, and suction cups introduced, but to a great extent nearly all individuals practicing cupping now still use horn, glass or bamboo cups.

One rationale that cupping techniques stay the same as in early times is a result of the fact that, with the exception of a couple of acupuncture practitioners, cupping is usually practiced in rural area where no or hardly any contemporary medicine is available.


Cupping affects the flow of Qi and bloodstream. It helps draw out and eliminate pathogenic factors like wind, cold, heat and moist. Cupping also moves Qi and Blood and opens the pores of the skin, thus precipitating the elimination of pathogens through the skin.

My first encounter of cupping was when I had a bad cold and my acupuncturist applied cups into my back. First my back had been garnished with aromatic oil and, as I lay face down, the cups were implemented. I could feel their edges digging into my flesh and then a gentle heat and discharge as my skin was pulled up and away from my body.

Once the cups were securely in place and sucking my skin, the practitioner moved them up and down my back. (This is known as walking cups.) I was left to rest with the cups in my back. Once I got up from the table I felt considerably improved, the heaviness in my chest was gone and I’d bright purple suction cup marks along my back. The purple marks did not hurt or bother me at all. They vanished after a few days together with my cold. Cupping provided relief from my cough and efficient remedy of my cold.