Many people are familiar with cupping because they've seen its tell tale marks on the bodies of Olympians and celebrities.
Cupping is one of many therapies which fall under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine. At The Qi Cottage, I use traditional "fire cupping" in which a flame is quickly passed through the inside of a glass cup to create a vacuum. The cup is then placed on the skin where it creates a tight suction. Cupping is not painful, in fact it feels like a deep massage. Sometimes the cups leave a temporary red or brown circular mark on the skin which disappears within a few days.
When appropriate I use cupping to loosen tight muscles particularly in the upper back, shoulders and neck. Cupping can also help to stop a cold from setting in during its early stages or to break up phlegm that lingers in the lungs at the end of a cold.