Cupping is a technique that is especially useful in the treatment of problems of local qi, or blood stagnation in the channels, and is usually performed as an alternative to acupuncture. The cups are warmed via a burning taper, held for a very short period of time inside the cup. The cup is then quickly placed over the selected area.
Due to the candle flame, all of the oxygen in the cup has been removed and when placed open side down, a vacuum is created, which anchors the cup to the skin and pulls the skin upward on the inside of the glass.
The resulting pressure encourages the flow of qi and blood in the area beneath the cup, and the local stagnation begins to clear.