Fire cupping, often known simply as cupping, is a therapeutic technique associated with Eastern medicine. It involves the application of heated cups to the body, creating a seal which pulls the skin and soft tissues into the cup slightly. According to its practitioners, fire cupping has a number of health benefits, such as improving circulation and alleviating respiratory difficulties. Fire cupping has been used as a healing technique in China for at least 1000 years. The practice temporarily became popular in western countries in the 18th century, and was revived again in the early years of the 21st century as a form of alternative medicine.