The Many Uses of Cupping Therapy

Traditional Chinese medicine uses a technique known as cupping therapy to improve circulation and to cure aches, pain, and various types of illnesses. Cupping therapy involves the application of rounded cups upside-down over specific areas of the body. The cups are attached to the skin through a suction effect that leads to various therapeutic benefits.

What is Cupping Used For?

Oftentimes, cupping in Cleveland is used to quicken recovery from certain ailments and to alleviate inflammation, soreness, and muscle pain.

In the last decade, cupping therapy has become a popular practice in sports therapy for stiff joints and sore muscles. A lot of US Olympic athletes have been administered with this procedure prior to their performance in the Rio Olympics.

Cupping, in traditional Chinese medicine, is believed to stimulate the flow of chi or qi (life energy) and help resolve any imbalances arising from injury or illness. It is frequently used alongside with the Chinese massage therapy, Tuina and acupuncture, which are modalities used to stimulate acupuncture points.

What to Expect in Cupping Therapy?

During a cupping procedure, the practitioner may place a flammable material (such as alcohol or herbs) inside a cup, and then light up that material. When the flame dies, the practitioner rapidly puts the cup on the body upside-down over specific acupoints associated with the illness being treated.

Cupping therapy can also be conducted using an electrical or mechanical vacuum pump. The cup is attached to the pump and then placed on the skin to produce the suction.

The cups are left in place for about 5 to 10 minutes. During this time, the blood vessels dilate and boost blood flow.

Cupping therapy can also help detoxify the body by opening up the skin pores.

There is a type of therapy called “wet cupping” that entails the puncturing of the skin before the treatment process. During the treatment procedure, the blood moves out of the punctures and brings with it toxins from the body for elimination.

Cupping Therapy, Its Benefits

As of now, there has been little research done to validate cupping therapy’s efficacy in treating any health condition.

A 2009 review of a research evaluated seven trials testing cupping in people suffering from certain bodily pains (i.e., cancer pain and low back pain); the outcomes allegedly revealed that a great majority the studies were of poor quality.

In 2010, another research review was published that saw scientists analyze five studies that assessed cupping’s effectiveness in stroke rehabilitation. Despite the fact that the authors of the review found a lack of proof of cupping’s efficacy, a couple of studies did reveal cupping’s benefits to stroke patients. The therapy, for example, showed positive effects on muscle strength and shoulder pain.

The Side Effects of Cupping Therapy

In certain cases, cupping therapy may result burns, swelling, and/or pain. It can leave circular bruises or purplish round marks on the skin; these marks, however, start to vanish after several days although they may remain on the skin for 2 to 3 weeks.

Cupping shouldn’t be done on areas where the skin is broken, irritated, or inflamed.

In rare occasions, the treatment can cause skin pigmentation, panniculitis, keloids, iron-deficiency anemia, thrombocytopenia, acquired hemophilia or blisters.


Most people now want to try cupping therapy, after seeing celebrities and star Olympic athletes and sporting the trademark purple bruises. This is just one proof that cupping therapy does indeed provide several healing benefits for many people.