I ordered the acucups, www.acucups.com
and said I'd post a review since the quality was in dispute. I will do some pictures later also to illustrate what I will mention.
First, I'd like to say that this is a very cool concept. The cups are pliable rubber, and to use them you set them on the skin, push the top in to force air out, then release and they adhere. There are 4 cups in this set: The largest has a 2.5" diameter opening, the smallest has less than 1" diameter opening. They nest inside one another to take up less space. Mine arrived in a 9x11 shipping envelope.
They are very pliable, which is great. They feel a little sticky, well they are rubber, and for someone who is used to working with glass, will take some getting used to.
Light suction is very difficult with the two smaller cups. Even on a flat, fleshy area, they pop loose almost immediately. Due to the small size, heavy suction is difficult to manage, especially since there is no visual under the cup as there is with glass or even plastic. One of the reasons I was interested in this set is the possibility of being able to cup on the lateral neck, upper pecs and near elbows and knees- places where glass cups just don't work easily. It simply isn't possible. Either there is too much pressure or not enough. Plus the rough edge is really noticeable in these areas.
These cups require LOTS of oil in order to use sliding techniques. They are (as another poster indicated) quite scratchy when used on lightly lubricated skin, and have a tendency to either bind up, or come loose without adequate lubricant, unlike heavy glass cups which are quite versatile. Also, due to the design (a rather prominent inner "lip" with a somewhat sharp edge from the mold) they seem to pick up the oil inside the cup instead of gliding over it on the skin.
They smell like inside of Les Schwab. It is STRONG. At the moment they are sitting 10' away and the smell is still very distinct and noticeable. The smell seems to increase with use. I am assuming (hope) that it will dissipate somewhat with use and washing.
Moving stagnation: These cups do not move stagnation or blood stasis the way a good, tight, static glass cup will. I placed the 2nd largest, at the maximum suction, on an area that always turns up a lot of sha when cupping. I left it in place for 4 minutes, removed the cup and it was a little red. Not much. So for more TCM applications, these are not a good choice. This is the main way the documentation indicates these cups should be applied, there is little recommendation for moving cups. In this respect, they are completely inadequate.
In addition, the documentation gives suggested treatments and includes acupoints that would be impossible to apply the cups to, due to the presence of hair. Glass cups will stay on someone hairy, reasonably well if you use lots of oil and don't mess with them. These won't. You can't get the suction over the hair.
Cellulite: This is really what these things are designed for IMO. Testing them on my thighs, it was just the right amount of pressure for a cellulite treatment, the cups stayed on with ease, were easy to move (if using lots of oil and reapplying,) and felt reasonably comfortable. I could definitely see using rubber cups for this application. Again though, these cups felt scratchy, not smooth at all like cupping with glass. It may be the fault of this particular mold.
As mentioned, the mold has a very prominent lip or line inside the cup, just in the area where the skin would pull up into it. Static cupping leaves a very distinct impression on the skin. It is NOT sha. It is a mark from the edge of the cup. This does not happen with my glass cups.
I will post a picture later of both the mark and the inside of the cups. I need better photo equipment than I have here at work.
Would I order these particular cups again? No. The design, IMO, is still inferior. I don't know if the baguanfa rubber cups are the same manufacturer or not. There is no maker's mark on the inside or outside of the cups. Nor do I know if the ones Anita Shannon is planning to carry are the same. I will probably order one or the other set to find out.
Am I going to return them? Probably not. Though I'm not particularly impressed with them, I think I want to play with them, try and smooth the rough edge and see how they hold up to aggressive use.
(If any of the cup people want to send me a review set, I'll be happy to use them and post a review. I'll either send them back or if I like them I'll buy them after I review them.