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Fire Cupping

Definition of Fire Cupping

Cupping therapy, aka Fire Cupping, is a physical therapy that uses cups as tools and by burning and squeezing the air in the cups to cause negative pressure, making the cups adhere to the points of the human body and stimulating that body part to form partial congestion to prevent and treat illness and strengthen the body.

Tools of Fire Cupping

Many different materials were used to make fire cupping tools, such as bamboos, glasses, ceramics, bronzes, and animal horns.

Bamboo Cupping Jar: Bamboo is ubiquitous in southern China; people in old times often make jars with bamboos. A solid and mature bamboo tube is made with one end open and the other end closed. It can be big or small; the big ones are used for the waist, back, or the hips with a big area, while the small ones are used for the legs or the lambs. 

Cups Made of Ceramics: it’s a round-belly pottery clay with a surface painted with a layer of black or yellow glaze. These cups are smooth both inside and outside, which produces a huge suction force. Rural people in northern China often use such fire cupping therapy. 

Glass Cupping Jar: it is the most commonly used medical appliance in traditional Chinese medicine. The glass cups are often smooth, heat resistant, and completely transparent, enabling the physicians to see the effect of cupping therapy. 

Cups Made of Animal Horns: in old times, when people don't have the modern materials to make the cups, ancient people collected the animals' horns and ground the opening end to be smooth. The biggest strength of such cups is the durability. However, the perfect animal horns are extremely hard to find, and with the advancement of technology, people have more options. 

Cups Made from Red Copper: it's most commonly seen in the Tibetan and Mongolian medicinal therapies. 
Different kinds of cups are used in fire cupping therapy, but the effect is the same. 

Safety of Fire Cupping

Fire Cupping is usually safe, but as the open flame is involved during the cupping, there is a possibility that the patients may get burned due to the misoperation. The cups and the cupping therapy's length should be different according to the patients' age, physical conditions, pathogenic conditions, and body points where the cupping therapy is performed. For example, grown-ups with better physical conditions can endure a long time of fire cupping. In comparison, older people and children with weaker physical conditions should have a shorter period of cupping. Some patients will also experience syndromes like chest distress, palpitation, dizziness, and coldness in lambs; the physicians must stop the process right away and save the patients. Besides, the alcohol is used during the fire cupping; any misoperation may cause fire or burn. Therefore, fire cupping should be performed by professional physicians. 

What does Dark Purple Cupping Marks Mean?

The different cupping marks mean different health problems the patients may have.
Dark purple mark: insufficient blood supply and blood stasis.
Purple mark with patches: slowed blood flow.
Dispersed purple dots: gas stagnation and blood stasis.
Bright red: yin deficiency, deficiency of both qi and blood, or hyperactivi.
Dark red: hyperlipidemia.
Gray: the coldness of insufficiency type or dampness pathogen.
Obvious dermatoglyph or slight itching: pathogenic wind or dampness.
Water vapor on the inner wall of the cups: dampness on your body.
Blister: heavy dampness inside the body. 
Blister with blood: damp heat. 

How often can You do Cupping Therapy?

The fire cupping cycle and treatment course depend on the patients' illness, age, and physical conditions. Patients with mild syndromes, short illness period, and good physical conditions don't need many cupping courses. Based on clinical habits, a treatment cycle of 2-3 times a week is appropriate. If you only seek the result of illness prevention, one time per week would be enough. 

Benefits of Fire Cupping

1.Lose Weight - By stimulating the acupoint and adjusting the meridians, fire cupping can strengthen the spleen and kidney functions and the body resistance to eliminate pathogenic factors as to lose weight. 

2.Eliminate pathogens - fire cupping can make people refreshing and eliminate the dampness in the body.

3.Get through the Qi and Blood - by fire cupping, the acupoint on the body surface, bones, tendons, and meridian will be stimulated, and as a result, the internal organs will be adjusted as well.

4.Relieve Pain - fire cupping can greatly help relieve the pains caused by local tissue damage or slipped discs.
5.Reduce pressure - during the fire cupping, the human body will be significantly stimulated to reduce bodily stress and tension. 

How Long Can You Take A Bath After the Fire Cupping Session?

Generally speaking, you can't take a bath within 3 hours after the cupping therapy, and it's best if you take a bath 24 hours after the session. However, if there is no skin damage after the fire cupping, you may have a bath 3-8 hours after the cupping. If there is a blister after cupping, you should have a bath 48 hours after the therapy. While if there are some skin damages, you should see a doctor first. 

Who should not get fire cupping?

1. People with high fever, convulsions, or cramps. 
2. People with severe emphysema and cardiac failures.
3. Pregnant women or women experiencing menstruation. 
4. Patients with a bleeding tendency should use fire cupping with caution.
5. Those with skin allergies or skin damages may aggravate the allergy symptoms or result in infection problems.
6. Patients with catagma should not have fire cupping before their complete healing. 

Tips on Fire Cupping

1. Sterilization of the Cups: use a cotton ball containing 75% alcohol to wipe the cup and then use a dry cotton ball to dry the cup or let it dry naturally.
2. Don't perform the fire cupping on skinny body parts or parts with too much hair or skin damage. 
3. Choose a proper posture to take the fire cupping, and lying down is the most common position. Once the cups are on your body, don't move. 
4. Different sized cups should be used in different body parts. 
5. If there are multiple cups, make sure there is some distance between them. 
6. After the fire cupping, it's a normal phenomenon that the part experiencing the cupping becomes red or purple. The mark will disappear within a week. Avoid the part suffering from severe blood stasis when you have the fire cupping next time.

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