It is believed that this practice dates from as early as 3000BC but the earliest written text is the Ebers Papyrus which describes using cupping by the Egyptians around 1500BC. In china evidence of cupping has been found dating it to around 1000BC and Hippocrates writes of using cupping for internal diseases and structural problems around 400BC.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum on the patient’s skin to dispel stagnation, thus improving flow of Qi. Cupping also is used on back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Cupping can lead to localised bruising which, depending on the colour, can be seen as heat or stagnation being released.