Acupuncture is a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and has been used for centuries to restore health and function. Acupuncture involves the insertion of filament needles into specific points of soft tissue around the body. From a traditional or eastern medicine perspective, acupuncture assists to balance the body by normalizing energy flow or Qi (chi) along pathways called meridians. From a western medicine perspective, acupuncture needles are inserted adjacent to nerves which helps to stimulate blood flow, control pain, and stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
Cupping therapy has been dated back to ancient Egypt and has been a component of TCM for centuries. Cups are applied and suctioned onto the patient’s skin to stimulate local blood flow and release superficial myofascial adhesions. Cupping can be used in conjunction with acupuncture, moved along muscular tissues, or left in place. Patients describe the sensation of cupping to feel similar to a low grade vacuum being applied to their skin. Due to the blood flow to the area, cupping can sometimes leave reddish circular marks where they were applied. The marks are usually not tender to the touch and fade within a few days.