Cupping is often combined with an acupuncture treatment. It creates a vacuum on the patient's skin to dispel stagnation. Old injuries, illnesses, drugs or medication can cause toxins, scar tissue and cell waste to build up in the muscle tissue or joints. This can lead to stagnation of blood and lymph movement in localized areas. Cupping has been used for more than 3000 years to relieve the stagnation and create better Qi flow, allowing the toxins to be released so healing can begin. A western way of thinking about this: the skin is the body's largest organ—it contains about 20% of your blood volume—and its network of capillaries transport all the toxins that cupping pulls up to the liver and kidneys, where they can be metabolized and excreted.
Cupping can be used to treat a wide array of health problems. It was famously used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics to alleviate athletic injuries and pain. We sometimes employ cupping at the end of a treatment to balance out the system and get blood moving or to treat respiratory diseases like the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal pains