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Cupping therapy may be trendy right now, but this therapy dates back to 1550 B.C.  Cupping is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction.  It is often used for pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, ands as a type of deep-tissue massage.

There are different methods of cupping, including: dry and modern:

During dry cupping, the therapist puts a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire.  As the fire goes out, they put the cup upside down on your skin.  This creates a vacuum effect that causes the skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand.  The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes.

Modern cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup.  Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.

Cupping is fairly safe, as long as you go to a trained professional.  The common side effects to cupping include: mild discomfort, burns, bruises.

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