People often say, “Do cupping or attach cups” when they have neuralgia or a bruise. Cupping is a kind of treatment method in KM, which removes waste matters from the body and restores normal body functions. Cupping uses small vessels. In ancient times before the development of the tool, people used a bamboo tree, cutting it, expanding air in the hole by putting water into the hole and boiling the water or making a fire inside the hole, and attaching it to the skin. As the air cools down, its volume is reduced and creates negative pressure, which removes bad blood or pus stagnant under the skin. Today, however, negative pressure is created using a manual or an electromotive device. As its application has been broadened, it is used widely from traumatic diseases like minor bruises to chronic internal diseases.
Cupping has not been used only in Asia. It is said that Napoleon was treated with cupping using the horns of water buffalo for his stomachache. In addition, high-class people in Europe are also known to have used cupping regularly for recovery from fatigue and rejuvenation.
Cupping is divided into two types: wet cupping for extracting body fluid like blood; and dry cupping for applying negative pressure locally without extracting body fluid. Dry cupping uses the property of the skin that passes gas but not blood. Therefore, if negative pressure is applied through cupping, the pressure difference causes gas exchange and purifies body fluid.
Cupping therapy has various effects. First, it activates metabolism and blood purification through gas exchange. Second, it strengthens blood circulation and hematopoiesis. Third, it supplies nutrients to each cell and discharges waste matters and toxic substances. Besides, cupping is known to contribute to the equilibrium of acidity and alkalinity in body fluid and immunological functions.