How you do cupping will depend on the cupping set you have purchased. Most sets come with a basic set of instructions to get you started. If you have not previously experienced what the suction of a cup feels like before, I recommend practicing on your forearm as it will be relatively unaffected below the skin surface. After you have practiced taking the cup on and off I recommend starting with finding 1-2 points to cup at first.
Drink a glass of water, get comfortable, and apply your cups. You will want to make sure your body is covered with cloth to stay warm as you sit or lay still for 15-20 minutes. Drinking water before and after cupping is essential for the benefits of cupping. With an increase in circulation and a focus on detoxifying the regions being cupped, water is necessary for these to occur successfully with out causing you to feel light headed afterwards.
Choosing places to cup:
- If you have knowledge of acupuncture points and meridians you can choose your points based on this system.
- If a spot is painful but not tender to press it is a good spot to cup.
- In general, if you are cupping a spot on one side of the body, cup the same spot on the other side of the body.
Things to remember to not do when cupping:
- Do not cup the same area when there is still a bruise from a previous cupping. Wait 1-2 weeks between cupping sessions.
- Do no cup on damaged or broken skin. It may slow the healing or create new damage.
- Do not cup on bones or joints that are not fleshy. Not only will cups have a hard time staying on, there is little benefit to cupping in these regions.
- Do not cup during menstruation. This is not just for the abdomen and lower back but the entire body.
Other things to remember when cupping:
- While it can feel painful, it is no more painful than a good stretch. If it is more than that, remove the cup and place it back on with less suction.
- If there is no bruise after cupping it just means that there was not a lot of stagnant blood and toxins to be loosened. You still did it correctly. This means you are more healthy. If we were all perfectly healthy we would not get bruises from cupping.
- While blisters and fluid discharge are not common with cupping, this is a sign that you have a higher toxin load and you should be seeking out additional ways of removing these toxins from your body. Consider working with an herbalist and nutritionist in this case.
- If a cup keeps falling off you may need to shave the hair in that region of the body or apply some oil to the skin to encourage a better seal.
- Be sure to clean your cups after every use.
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. The Dancing Herbalist posts on this blog every Thursday. For more of our posts, join us on Patreon. Jillian also presents regular live classes in The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online. For more learning opportunities or to work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultations visit The Dancing Herbalist.com.