Shoshana Osofsky, MA, MS
L.Ac., Dipl. NCCAOM
An acupuncturist discusses cupping treatment and gives a demonstration:
A cupping fan gives talks about her experience receiving cupping therapy:
Acupuncture has been a major part of primary healthcare in China for over 4,000 years. It is used extensively in over 40 countries for medical purposes ranging from:
disease prevention & treatment
pain relief (physical & emotional)
Some techniques used in conjunction with acupuncture are
Moxibustion or "Moxa"
Moxibustion is the burning of the herb mugwort on or near an acupoint. Moxa stimulates the flow of Qi and can be used to drive cold from an area. Many types of pain are associated with cold in Chinese medicine, especially back pain.
Moxa can be made into a cigar-like roll and held close to the skin to create warm sensations. Sometimes the moxa is put on a needle. It can also be placed directly on the skin but this is not a technique that I use.
When you enter the office you may smell moxa in the air.
Cupping is the placement, by suction, of glass cups at strategic places on the body. The strength of the suction is about what you might experience from a good vacuum cleaner hose. Cupping can be used at the onset of a cold or when you just don't feel right. I mostly use cups to relax tight muscles. When a muscle is so tight it's hard to tell what is muscle and what is bone or when the muscle feels like a rope or when the tightness is chronic and either the muscle does not relax or stay relaxed with other types of treatment, I think of cupping.
Forms of cupping have been used not just in China, but northern and eastern Europe as well as around the Mediterranean and ancient Egypt. Ask elders in your family and you may be surprised that cupping is a part of your family tradition. It is a versatile technique that has been part of folk traditions around the world.
The cups are usually left in place between 5 and 15 minutes. The suction is obtained by lighting an alcohol swab, twinkling it the cup and quickly pressing the cup to the skin. There is no heat on the skin, merely the suction due to the expansion and expulsion of air from the cup.
The cups range in size from about as big as a mouthwash bottle cover to nearly as large as the small fish bowls beta fish are displayed in. After a treatment, the area will likely look and feel like a bruise. The darker the color, the deeper the stagnation. A successful treatment can bruise the skin (as seen in this photo of Gyneth Paltrow) and look very ugly but it can bring relief like nothing else.
During the past 3+ years, I have received acupuncture and cupping therapy administered by Shoshana Osofsky L Ac. In this span of time, the acupuncture treatments have eliminated the pain and symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (finger numbness, hand pain) and TMJ (severe jaw pain). The elimination of pain associated with these two maladies has been total with no reoccurrances.
With respect to cupping therapy, it is undoubtedly the most powerful and stimulating massage-like sensation that I’ve experienced. Cupping is the only method that effectively reached deep-seated pain in my shoulders and quelled it. The same effect held true for treatment of arm pain. Cupping definitely does not hurt – it feels like someone is pulling at your skin and reaching deep down into the muscle structure below. The marks left as a result of successful cupping are of no consequence – they disappear in several days.
My opinion regarding the treatment rendered by Shoshana Osofsky of Heartpath Acupuncture can best be summed up by a quote that I borrow from another acupuncture patient whose comments were recorded in connection to a New York newspaper article:
“If nothing else, when I go to my acupuncturist, I am completely relaxed and I have absolute trust in her – as opposed to the tension I feel whenever I see an orthopod. My acupuncturist is a healer – my orthopod is a business transaction.”
– George D.
© HeartPath Acuncture 2012