Like most ancient civilizations, the ancient Chinese people spent most of their time hunting for food or working in the fields. Such hard work was always accompanied with aches and pains. People then were mostly poor and technology was not as we know it today – they had to find the cheapest method to tie themselves of their ailments. Just using some cups and a flame, they invented what is known as cupping today.

The traditional cupping treatment involuntarily primarily the use of cups. There are 3 kinds of cups – the round glass cups, the narrow cylindrical bamboo cups and plastic cups. These cups are then placed on a person's body via the use of suction force. For glass cups, air is drawn out from the cups by using small flames to remove part of the air inside the cups; bamboo cups can be heated in warm water, causing expansion of air inside the cup, which upon contact with the body will cool and contract; plastic cups are attached to a vacuum pump that removes the air inside the cup.

The simplistic theory behind cupping is that the suction force can draw out the bad illness-causing agent within the body. However, cupping goes beyond this. In Chinese medicine, qi is akin to life force energy that keeps our body functions going while blood is necessary for delivering nutrients around the body. Both qi and blood have an interrelationship – blood carries qi and qi makes the blood move. Unlike acupuncture which affects the qi directly and since indirectly affects the blood, cupping can affect both the qi and blood directly, but its impact on qi is smaller. The suction force created by cupping easily draws qi and blood to the area where the cup is placed. This increase in qi and blood can promote faster healing since area would be better supplied with the necessary nutrients it will need for maximum healing to occur. This increased healing effect is most apparent for new ailments, whereas for older problems, a longer time for healing would be required.

Cupping is a very comfortable process that has brought much relief to many people, though they are suffering from a mysterious bout of flu to chronic pains in joints. These proven results have earned it much popularity as a more comfortable and less intimidating method of Chinese medicine treatment than acupuncture. If you feel that it might be an answer to your own ailments, look for a Chinese medicine doctor near you and ask for his or her advice on its suitability for you.