Cupping is the attachment of glass or plastic cups by suction onto the surface of the skin. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, dispels pain or swelling, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body. Depending on the condition being treated, the cups will be left in place from 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. In China, cupping is used primarily to treat respiratory conditions and certain types of pain. Some practitioners also use cupping to treat depression. Fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach (and, to a lesser extent, the arms and legs), are the preferred sites for treatment.
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