Cupping might seem an odd concept. In the classic texts, they talk about relieving stagnation (within muscles) and drawing out evil pathogens. I find cupping an extremely quick and effective way of relieving muscle tension.
The patient in the photo has a manually active job as well as being a keen gym member. Once I have applied some massage oil and done some preliminary massage, the cups are used to break up the tension in the muscles. Despite the reddening of the skin (and sometimes some temporary marks) it’s quite a pleasant technique. In my experience it’s more comfortable and effective than deep tissue massage.
A machine very similar to a TENS machine is used to apply a low current to the needles. This is used particularly in relation to pain and injury to encourage and quicken healing but also to prompt the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.
The patient featured in the photo is having some electro-acupuncture on his painful shoulder. I quite often use it on lower backs, knees, achiles tendons and feet. Most people find it’s quite a pleasant experience.
The use of mugwort burnt on the end of acupuncture needles has a very warming and stimulating effect. It is used in conditions of Cold and deficiency, especially therapeutic in cases where patients decribe a “deep achiness in their bones”.