Cupping has been enjoying celebrity publicity  in recent years, but it is one of the oldest methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Books have been written about it dating back to the fourth century. During the Tang and Qing dynasties books described the practice in detail.  Originally, hollowed out animal horns were used. Nowadays, the cups are made from  special thick glass cups. The cups are first heated, using a direct flame, which is then placed directly into the hollow of the cup. This is  quickly withdrawn so that  the intense heat  is caught   in a vacuum.  The cups are  quickly placed directly onto whichever part of the body  is considered by the practitioner to be appropriate. The section of the skin is anchored to the jar. This helps the flow of blood, releases toxins and clears obstructions.