Fire cupping is the practice of using a glass cup and creating a small vacuum between the cup and the skin of the patient by placing a lit cotton ball inside the cup for a brief second then transferring the cup (without fire) to the patient. The cooling of the hot air as gas inside the cup causes a suction and the skin is gently drawn up into the cup creating a seal. Lotion, oil or herbal liniment may be applied so the cup can glide across the skin without discomfort.  This modality is used to treat tight muscles, swelling, pain or external pathogens like a cold or flu.