Cupping is an ancient therapy used today as an alternative therapy for a variety of conditions. It has limited effectiveness but a definite risk for complications.
Cupping exposes the skin to a mild suction. There are several ways to generate a negative pressure including cooling of a heated cup and use of a suction bulb.
Many variations exist including:
(1) wet cupping: with bleeding
(2) dry cupping: without bleeding
(3) fire cupping
(2) anemia and iron deficiency (with wet cupping)
(4) bruising and petechiae
(10) localized psoriasis
(11) mistaken as evidence of abuse
(12) delay in giving a better therapy
Risk factors for complications:
(1) excessive and prolonged cupping
(2) inexperienced operator
(3) contaminated equipment
(4) failure to adequately clean the skin
(5) excessive heating of the cup
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