Three Reasons Why You Should Try Cupping Therapy

Cupping is a marvelous therapy that can provide a wide range of benefits for your health.

One way to describe cupping therapy is that it is the opposite of massage. Instead of putting pressure to the muscles, the force of the suction pulls the muscles, tissues, and skin upward. Most Chinese medicine practitioners combine acupuncture with cupping into one treatment although either of the two could be used as a standalone treatment.

While cupping therapy has been used in China for thousands of years, its techniques have seen signs of upgrading, although its original principle remains the same.

This treatment involves applying plastic, bamboo, or glass jars on the skin that produces a vacuum by sucking the air out from inside the jar. The bottom tissue is sucked or elevated halfway into the cup. The aim of the treatment is to eliminate toxins that have built up in the body tissues, dispel heat, alleviate pain, and boost circulation.

During cupping, one usually feels a tightening sensation in the area of the cup. This feeling is typically soothing and relaxing. Based on your comfort and the evaluation of your practitioner, the cups can be left in place or moved around. They may remain for longer periods or briefly remain on your body. On a specific day, each treatment may be unique and usually the back is one very common area cupped. This does not mean the cups don’t work well on other areas in the body; they do, especially on the fleshy regions of your body.

Cupping therapy can result in the skin turning temporarily purple, blue, or red, blue, especially if there is a blockage of chi or energy or an injury on the area being cupped. The discoloration of the skin can linger for a few days to a few weeks, although it is seldom painful. The procedure can be repeated once the marks disappear. Treatment continues until the ailment or condition is cured.

Cupping therapy for various methods of its own but the two most widely used forms in the U.S. are “moving cupping” and “fixed cupping”.

Moving Cupping

In moving cupping, the practitioner puts cream or oil on your skin on the relevant parts of your body, he or she then places the cups over the affected body region and then slides them around that area of the body, which is usually the back and because the cream has lubricated your body, the cups slide easily.

You can explore the benefits of this treatment if you’re seeking relief from conditions such as fever, itchy red skin problems, muscle tension and aches, anxiety, back pain, colds, flu, allergies, body pain, and stress.

Fixed Cupping

The practitioner places the cups on the area of the body selected for treatment. The cups are then left in place.

Here are as few reasons why you should seriously consider cupping therapy:

1. Cupping can alleviate various kinds of health problems.

You can derive a ton of benefits from cupping. It helps treat itchy red skin conditions, aches, fevers, allergies anxiety, weak circulation, muscle and back pain, coughs, colds, and flu and stimulates the flow of Chi, lymph, and fresh blood in the body. Cupping is also an ideal to detoxify the body and can resolve dozens of ailments and disorders.

Cupping is not exclusively used by the Chinese to treat illness. This treatment has many variations that were used by the early Greeks, North American Indians, ancient Egyptians, and in other European and Asian civilizations. Hippocrates, the “Father of Modern Medicine,” actually recommend cupping therapy in his guide to medical treatment.

One should remember that cupping is contraindicated for patients who have a difficult time controlling their bleeding or who tend to bleed easily and for patients suffering from edema, and skin ulcers. It should not be to cup over large blood vessels. Using extra caution practitioners could cup pregnant women albeit with extreme caution and never on the women’s lower back or stomach.

2. Many Athletes use cupping to boost their skills

During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Chinese swimmer Wang Chun proudly showed off her cupping marks. Today, a growing number of athletes have turned to cupping as a way of searching for methods to enhance their performance and health in a natural way. Andy Murray, a tennis star have used cupping along with other therapies to alleviate muscle stiffness and to help treat a back injury.

This treatment has also been adopted by the New York Mets. The Wall Street Journal in August reported on several Mets players who were using cupping. For these baseball players, the trend began after Daisuke Matsuzaka, their teammate, showed up in the locker room with numerous cupping marks on his body. About two years ago, this 33-year-old baseball dude began cupping and he reported that he always was looking for ways to improve and protect his body. He remarked that, “I’m always in the habit of looking for something that might be good for my health.”

Cupping can be extremely advantageous for everyone and it’s not just for athletes and movie stars.

3. Celebrities who regularly receive cupping therapy are growing in numbers

Cupping therapy first appeared in the tabloids about 10 years ago. This was the time when Actress Gwyneth Paltrow appeared on the red carpet toting round large cupping marks on her back. She later explained to Oprah, “Cupping is definitely extremely relaxing and feels amazing.”

Today, aside from Ms. Paltrow, other Hollywood stars have been going to practitioners of this ancient healing technique. Jennifer Aniston last April, appeared at the premiere of her movie, “Call Me Crazy” looking fabulous in a black strapless dress that exhibited her cupping marks. Ms. Aniston has long been a huge fan of acupuncture and cupping.

Popular outspoken cupping activists include Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, and Jessica Simpson. They have talked about cupping as a treatment for relaxation and for other physical complaints. The treatment has also been picked up by the Exes. In London, Ms. Paltrow’s partner, Chris Martin, revealed his cupping marks while working out while Brad Pitt is also believed to have experienced the therapy.

Dr. Hailing Fu is a doctor or Oriental medicine and the founder of Ling’s Acupuncture, Inc., in Orlando, FL. She has also served as professor and clinic director at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in Central Florida.

What To Expect In A Cupping Therapy Procedure

The process of cupping begins by distinguishing the part or parts of the body to be treated. For the relief of pain, the cups are usually placed the nearby the acupoints or around the ailing body part. In the treatment of illnesses, the cups are placed on the back as this is the area the acupoints directly connected to the body organs are located.

The Selection of the Cups

This is the next process. Because of their versatility with the heat from the flame, glass cups are usually used in cupping therapy. Plastic cups and bamboo cups are also be used occasionally. The use of the former is considered hygienic and should be used only once.

The cup needs to be placed on the body immediately once the air in the bamboo or glass cup has been removed. Plastic cups are placed first on the body before the air is removed. As long as there is enough flesh in the area that can be suctioned into the cups, the cups can be placed on almost any part of the body. The neck and the face are reserved for the smallest cups. For the legs, back, and arms medium sized cups are used, while for the posterior the biggest cups are used. Cups should not be placed on areas with large scars or areas where there is little flesh.

For people with good health, there would be no marks left on the treatment site once the cups have been removed. But in people with poor health, the treatment may leave round purple marks on the skin. These marks may resemble bruises but are not. The darker a shade of purple will the mark will be the more serious the health condition is. The marks may be very obvious but they are not painful and they usually dissipate after a few days.

During the procedure that cups are left on the body for twenty minutes at most. If the cups are left in place for over twenty minutes, it may lead to the formation of water blisters. Also, blisters can form even after the treatment has ended if the force of the vacuum in the cup is too great. If this happens, there’s no need to be alarmed concern since the blisters formed are small and are not very painful. But if the blisters are big, the practitioner should use a needle to prick it and allow the fluid inside to escape before they apply aloe vera and other lotions. The ancient Chinese practitioners actually consider the blisters as signs that the body is healing faster. In our modern age however, people are turned off by the sight of blisters and so the process of creating blisters through cupping is now rarely practiced.

Cupping in general is a pain-free and extremely relaxing free process that is growing in popularity by the day. Patients always feel satisfied after the end of treatment. There are others who seem to be addicted to moxibustion that they go for treatment on regular basis. This is definitely a recommended therapy for those seriously considering Chinese medicine.

Cupping is one among many healing modalities of Chinese medicine. The more popular forms are acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Boca Raton since they are more versatile and powerful capable of treating a wider range of diseases.

Cupping Therapy – Some Things To Consider Before Seeking Treatment

What is Cupping Therapy? Cupping is a very old Chinese healing technique that’s been practiced for thousands of years that causes local congestion in order to treat pain and diseases. It is used to draw toxins and excess fluids out of the body through the creation of negative pressure and suction. Cupping also helps loosen stubborn “knots,” connective tissue, adhesions, and stagnant muscles.

The Benefits Derived From Cupping Therapy

Cupping works by stimulating the flow of lymph and blood to the problematic part of the body. Oftentimes, cupping and massage is applied on wide areas of the back to eliminate stubborn adhesions and stagnated waste. Cupping can be used to treat:

• Menstrual pain
• Sorting injuries
• Flu
• The common cold
• General muscle tension

Those are just some of the conditions in which this therapy can to be highly beneficial. Talk to your cupping practitioner for further information.

What to Expect During Your Treatment

Glass cups are used by the practitioner, which are applied to the patient’s body. Using a flame, a vacuum is generated within each of the cups used that are then placed over the skin. Oil is applied on the body to facilitate the movement of glass on the skin surface. The cups are held tight to the body by the suction and the targeted area of the skin is elevated a few millimeters into the cup. These cups are allowed to remain on the body where they simulate the movement of energy and help treat ailments and illnesses.

Is Cupping Therapy Painful?

Some people may find the treatment uncomfortable and even painful, while some may find it relaxing and comfortable. During the treatment, most patients feel a tingling sensation and warmth that penetrates deep into the body that can linger long after the session has ended. This therapy relieves the inflammation from the affected part of the body yet does not exacerbate it especially when it is combined with liniments or oils. In a strong cupping procedure, the skin will likely redden. This is a good sign since it means sign that the flow of blood is being moved to the surface of the skin. The boost of local blood flow to the site of treatment will transport nourishment to the skin and muscles and cause the toxins to be washed away.

What Happens After Treatment?

After a cupping treatment session, based on the severity of your injury, bruises or red welts may appear on your skin that can be uncomfortable. This skin discoloration is not the result of tissue trauma or broken vessels, but of the moving up of waste material to the skin surface for elimination. The marks may last for many days. You need to inform your practitioner if you intend to wear clothes that expose the marks (i.e. evening gown or swimwear).

More often than not, cupping’s effects feel similar to that of deep tissue strong massage. Sometimes, you may feel a little fatigued or tired from the treatment. This is an indication that the body is in the process of eliminating the waste products. Hence, you need to drink small amounts of water as often as you can and slow down in order to recuperate quickly.

Cupping almost always produces immediate relief and results. Your muscle pain will be significantly alleviated or even completely cured and you will feel a lot looser. A sensation of well-being and intense relaxation will replace the feeling of aching or sore muscles.

Nelya de Brun is a licensed acupuncturist in Boynton Beach, FL., practicing acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Western medical pathology. She is also the founder of Classical Oriental Medicine, LLC.

The Uses, Procedures, And Benefits of Cupping Therapy

An ancient Chinese medicine procedure, cupping therapy involves the application of rounded cups over a part of the body. The cups are placed upside-down on the skin and a suction effect holds them to the skin. The suction causes a stimulating effect on the flow of blood and energy in the treated part of the body.

The Uses of Cupping Therapy

In general, cupping therapy is used to alleviate various kinds of ailments like muscle soreness and pain, inflammation, and to accelerate the self healing process of the body.

For the last decade, cupping has become wildly popular in the world of sports for the healing and recovery of stiff joints and sore muscles among others.

Swimmer Michael Phelps is one of the more high profile athletes who have had the procedure prior to performing in the Rio Olympics.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), cupping activates the circulation of qi or chi (vital energy) and helps rectify imbalances caused by an injury or illness. Several TCM practitioners combine cupping with Chinese massage (Tui Na) and/or acupuncture, the other TCM modalities utilized to stimulate or activate acupuncture points.

What Occurs During a Cupping Therapy Procedure?

During a cupping procedure, a TCM healer may put into a cup, alcohol or herbs and then light up that substance. As the flame slowly burns out, the healer rapidly places the cup upside-down on the body where energy channels connected to the ailment are located in order to treat the ailment.

The procedure can also be administered through the use of an electrical or mechanical vacuum pump. The cup is attached to the pump and placed upside down on the skin while the pump is turned on to generate the suction.

For about five to ten minutes, the cups are left attached to the body causing the blood vessels to dilate and strengthen blood and qi flow. The other benefits of cupping include the opening up of the pores of the skin and the detoxification of the body.

In another cupping technique called “wet cupping,” the practitioner punctures the skin before the cups are applied to the skin. This causes some bleeding which is believed to help remove toxins from the body quickly and much more efficiently during the cupping procedure.

Does Cupping Really Work?

Currently, only poor quality clinical studies have been done to scientifically test the benefits of cupping therapy for any health condition.

A 2009 review, for example, assessed seven clinical trials that tested whether cupping therapy can improve the conditions of patient suffering from cancer pain and low back pain; although the results showed significant improvements from the patients treated with cupping therapy, the reviewers did not find the proof adequate enough of the treatment’s efficacy, because according to them, the studies were of poor quality.

In 2010, another study review was published that showed researchers analyzing five studies that used cupping therapy for stroke rehabilitation. Two of the studies reveal that cupping provided certain benefits to stroke patients like strengthening the muscles and alleviating shoulder pain; however the authors of the review still saw that cupping was not effective enough in stroke rehabilitation.

Possible Side Effects

The side effects of cupping therapy may include swelling, pain, and in some cases, burn. The procedure can also leave circular bruises or round purple marks on the skin; after several days, these marks start to diminish although they may remain on the skin for two weeks or more.

Cupping treatment shouldn’t be administered on parts of the body where the skin is inflamed, irritated, or broken.

Some of the rare after effects that can occur from this procedure include skin pigmentation, panniculitis, keloids, iron deficiency anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acquired hemophilia A.


Despite the fact that clinical studies have failed to sufficiently prove the efficacy of cupping in treating ailments, more and more people are willing to try it due mainly after seeing movie and TV celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston and high-profile Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps sporting the trademark purple bruises of cupping. Before trying out the therapy, be sure to first talk to your doctor or primary healthcare provider to discuss whether it’s appropriate for you and to weigh the pros and cons of the treatment.

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