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 This is quickly withdrawn so that the intense heat is caught in a vacuum.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.