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Cupping therapy is a type of Chinese healing modality that has been used in China and Middle East for thousands of years that consists of attaching several hollowed-out “cups” to the body. This occurs through a vacuuming process in which these cups literally adhere to the person’s body, “sucking” skin up into the cups due to the lack of oxygen inside the cup which causes an imbalance of air pressure and forms an air-tight seal (negative pressure).

Based on the requirements of the patient´s treatment, can be used glass, silicon or plastic cups in singly or in large quantities to cover a larger area in order to perform the different modalities as stationary, moving, flashing, wet or fire cupping. Also, the cups may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture needle. 

In addition to regulate the flow of Qi and Bloor and helps to draw out and eliminate pathogenic factors such as Wind, Cold, Damp, and Heat, the effects of this therapy can be classified into two categories:


Local effect

These cups work to massage soft tissue, by pulling and stretching the skin and drawing blood to that area, stimulating the healing process:

  • Help form new connective tissues and creating new blood vessels in the tissue

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Loosen restrictions and adhesions in the tissue

  • Provide relaxation. 

The skin may be lubricated, allowing the cup to move across the skin slowly. 

General effects

  • Purification of blood

  • Improvement of circulatory functions

  • Regulation and betterment of the autonomic nervous system and internal organs

  • Improve immunity by increasing lymphatic output

Depending on the specific treatment, skin marking is common after the cups are removed. This may be a simple red ring that disappears quickly or more pronounced deeper marks which will take 3-6 days to disappear. The color, shape, and temperature of these marks show the condition of the disease and will be used as part of the diagnosis.

Cupping is possibly effective treating a wide variety of conditions: respiratory issues as a common cold, cough, dyspnea, asthma; digestive issues as nausea, hiccup, diarrhea even cellulitis; skin issues as acne, singles, and other conditions, as anxiety, fatigue, commonly treated with acupressure.

It may be particularly effective at easing conditions that create muscle aches and chronic and acute pains as back-neck pain, body soreness/pain, relaxation of still muscles, rheumatism, etc.

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