Cupping is a method of treating disease that is caused by local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in a cupping jar, usually by means of heat, which is then applied directly to the skin. The underlying tissue is drawn up into the jar forming an area of blood stasis. This appears bruising to the area. In ancient times, animal horns and bamboo jars were used, principally to drain pustulating sores.
Cupping is generally indicated in the treatment of Arthritic pain, abdominal pain, stomach ache, indigestion, headache, hypertension, common cold, cough, low back pain, painful menstruation, insect and poisonous snake bite.
Later this method was used to treat consumptive and rheumatic diseases. Today jars are made mostly out of glass to standard sizes and specifications, although bamboo jars are still occasionally used.