During cupping (拔罐 Báguàn), a vacuum is created using so-called cupping glasses.
The cupping glasses are placed directly on the skin. The negative pressure is usually achieved by heating the air in the cupping head and placing it immediately on the patient’s skin.
The heating is applied by a flame lit cotton ball dipped in alcohol. Alternatively the air is pulled from the cupping glass with a hand pump.
Cupping promotes local blood flow to the skin and muscle layers. This stimulates the flow of qi, blood, lymphatic fluid and the metabolism. Furthermore, it also strengthens the immune system.