Cupping therapy is an ancient healing technique that involves placing theraputic cups on the skin to create suction. This therapy improves circulation, alleviates muscle tension, reduces pain, promotes relaxation, as well as other health benefits.

Benefits of Cupping include: 

  • Pain Relief
  • Muscle relaxation 
  • Improved Circulation
  • Stress Reduction
  • Detoxification
  • Immunity Boost
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Loosen congestion


How does cupping work?

Cupping increases the circulation of blood and lymph as well as stretches tight muscles and fascia. By creating the suction, it brings healthy fresh blood to an area providing needed nourishment. Cupping can also break up trigger points in the muscles. Some cupping techniques, such as wet cupping, have been shown to have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. This is a way of clearing heat and breaking stagnation.  

Research has also shown that cupping stimulates the release of endorphins and helps the immune system function better. 

In addition to all those benefits, cupping is very relaxing and feels good!

What can cupping treat? 

cupping on back

Cupping therapy has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions and promote overall health and well-being. Some of the most common conditions I use cupping for include:

  1. Musculoskeletal issues: Cupping can help alleviate muscle pain, stiffness, and tension, which can help conditions such as like back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, and repetitive strain injuries. 
  2. Stress and anxiety: By releasing muscle tension and promoting relaxation, cupping therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
  3. Respiratory conditions: Cupping is used to treat many respiratory issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, allergies, and the common cold, by loosening phlegm and promoting the expulsion of respiratory secretions.
  4. Headaches and migraines: By improving circulation and reducing muscle tension, cupping therapy can help relieve headaches and migraines.
  5. Immune system support: Cupping can help boost the immune system by stimulating the flow of lymphatic fluid and stimulating the body to release natural antiinflammtories.  
  6. Skin conditions: Cupping is part of my treatment for many skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea, and urticaria. Wet cupping is effective for reducing heat and inflammation which can have a very quick improvement of skin conditions. Facial cupping can be used to stimulate collagen and circulation as part of acupuncture facial rejuvenation treatment.
  7. Detoxification: By increasing circulation and promoting the removal of toxins and waste products from the body, cupping can contribute to overall detoxification and improved well-being.

I use cupping as one therapy in your comprehensive treatment. During your consultation, we can discuss how to incorporate cupping into your treatment plan.

Cupping Techniques

glass cups

There are several techniques used in cupping therapy, each with its unique approach and benefits. By using different cupping techniques I can personalize each patients treatment to focus on their specific concerns. 

The most common techniques include:

  1. Dry Cupping: Dry cupping is the most common method and involves creating a vacuum inside the cup. The vacuum is typically created by heating the air inside the cup or using a suction device. The suction causes the skin and underlying tissues to be drawn into the cup, promoting blood flow and stimulating the flow of Qi (energy) in the body. This technique is good for muscle pain, workout recovery, stress, as well as the common cold, respiratory problems, and cough. 
  2. Bleeding cupping, also called wet cupping, is a powerful technique to reduce inflammation and reducing swelling. The skin is pricked with a small lancet and the cup is placed over the area. The suction from the cup will draw blood through the incision. The bleeding removes heat and stagnation from the body. It is very effective for reducing inflammation in acute injuries. It is also useful for skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and hives.  It can be helpful for certain types of pain such as lumbar herniated discs.  
  3. Flash Cupping: Flash cupping involves applying and quickly removing the cup multiple times in rapid succession in one area of the body. This technique stimulates blood flow and can be used to get different angles of the muscles without putting pressure on any one area. 
  4. Moving Cupping: In moving cupping, a lubricant is applied to the skin. The cup is placed over this balm or oil before gliding it smoothly over the treated area. This technique is good for reducing stress and tension.  
  5. Facial cupping uses small cups with small cups made of silicon and plastic. The cups create a gentle suction that lifts the skin and underlying tissues. This helps to increase blood flow, stimulate collagen and elastin production, and release muscle tension. Facial cupping can be used as part of an acupuncture facial rejuvenation treatment to create a more youthful appearance and improved skin tone. Facial cupping does not bruise or leave marks when done correctly. 

What to Expect

I will include cupping as part of acupuncture treatment. Depending on what you’re coming in for, it can be before, at the same time, or after the acupuncture treatment.  

Cupping sessions typically last for 5-15 minutes.  

It is common to experience temporary redness or cup marks in the treated areas. These marks are a natural result of the suction and increased blood flow, and should fade within a few days. 

After the session it is important to stay hydrated.  In some cases, you should avoid heavy exercise.  

Side Effects

Cupping is very safe when performed by a trained professional. Cupping will leave the characteristic cupping bruises. They generally do not hurt, but can look dark. 

Cupping is not painful or hot. You will feel the pressure and pulling of the cups. Most people find cupping very relaxing. 

After a cupping session, some people may experience soreness.  The soreness is generally mild and temporary, lasting for a few hours to a day after the treatment. It can be similar to the muscle soreness experienced after a deep tissue massage or an intense workout.

If the cupping is done incorrectly or for too long a period of time the skin can become irritated which is why it is important to see someone with experience. 


Cupping began in China over 3000 years ago but has been used and adapted by various cultures, including Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Eastern and Southern european cultures. The earliest recorded use of the therapy dates back to around 3000 BCE. The therapy was mentioned in the classic Chinese medical text, the “Huangdi Neijing” (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), the first known book of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

What are cups made of? 

Historically cups were made of hollow bamboo stalks or animal horns. Nowadays, I will use glass or plastic cups depending on the type of cupping therapy I am doing or location on the body. 

Glass cups are heated using a flame to create the vacuum needed for suction. These are good for dry cupping,  flash fire cupping, and sliding cups. 

Plastic cups are used with a vacuum pump.  These are very easy to place on specific muscles at angles to release trigger points and tight muscles.  Plastic cups are lightweight, easy to clean, and can be easily adjusted to control the suction intensity. I use disposable plastic cups for wet cupping. 

Silicone cups are flexible and easy for patients to use on themselves at home because they can be squeezed onto the problem area and are light and comfortable. 

Where to use cupping therapy?

Cupping therapy can be applied to various parts of the body, depending on the specific condition being treated and the individual’s needs. Most commonly it is done on the back, shoulders, and neck for pain, stress, and inflammation.  Arms and legs can be cupped for tension or acute injuries. The chest is used to relieve congestion and phlegm.

Will cupping help a bulging disc? 

Cupping is a powerful tool to help with bulging disc.  I use it for many of my patients along with electroacupuncture. It has to be done in the right way and for not too long a period of time in order to speed healing and not cause a flare of pain.

What is cupping used for?

Cupping can be used for for muscle pain, arthritis, tendonitis, fatigue, and stress. Many athletes will use cupping to reduce pain and improve recovery as well as reduce swelling in an injury. You can also use it to help colds and cough. [1-3] It is often used to help recovery from stroke.[4] Cupping can be very helpful for inflammatory acne