The use of suction cups is an effective therapy used within traditional Chinese medicine. A simple and safe procedure, cupping involves either the combustion of oxygen inside a glass jar (fire cupping) or a pump action inside specifically designed plastic cups to create a vacuum. When placed on the skin, this vacuum causes a suction making the cups grip to the skin.

Where as massage is a pressing technique, suction cups have a pulling action. Consequently local cupping marks may occur however these will disappear after a few days.

Stationary cupping is where the cups are placed on specific points and retained, while for sliding cupping the cups are moved along muscle regions or acupuncture channels. A massage oil is used for this technique.

Cupping is a useful way to invigorate stagnant qi and blood, promoting their circulation through the channels and muscle tissue.