Cupping is a technique in which a jar made of bamboo or glass is suctioned to the skin. The therapeutic mechanism is the stimulation caused by the suction. The suction is often created by heat from a flame, so cupping is also called fire cupping. This method involves placing a lighted alcohol swab inside the cup, which burns the oxygen to create a vacuum after the cup has been placed on the skin. The most common type of jar is made of glass because their transparency allows the doctor to see the flame and so he or she can create proper suction and avoid burning the patient. The recent development of cups with suction pumps makes cupping safer and more convenient than before.
The different forms of cupping include stationary, flash, moving, single-cup and multiple-cup. Clinically, it could be used alone or be used with other therapeutic methods such as needling (putting cups over needles), pricking (putting cups over pricked region), and herbs (using bamboo cups cooked in herbal decoctions, or putting herbs in cups before treatment).
The cupping therapy has expanded because of its simplicity and effectiveness. Cupping is especially useful for wind-damp Bi-syndrome, muscular-skeleton disorders, coughs, wheezing, abdominal pain, back pain, leg pain, early-stage abscess (yong) and flat-abscess (ju).