Sunday, February 23, 2014


By Lori Eggleston

Cupping is an ancient practice which was very popular during the period of “Heroic Medicine” prior to the Civil War.  Though cupping was beginning to wane in popularity at the start of the war, it was still practiced.

Cupping involves heating small cups, usually made of glass, and then placing them on the skin.  As the cup cools, a vacuum is created inside and the skin is drawn up inside the cup to form a raised blister.  In dry cupping, the cup would be left on the skin for several minutes.  This was thought to promote better blood flow to the area where the cups were applied.  In wet cupping, small cuts would be made in the skin so that the cups would also draw out blood from the area.  Bleeding was thought to reduce the “bad humors” in the body.


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