What is Cupping?

Cupping falls under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Of course, acupuncture is the most common and well known aspect of TCM. However, there are many other modalities your acupuncturist can use in conjunction with acupuncture to help aid in your recovery. Cupping is the term used to describe the technique of using small glass cups to suction areas placed on the skin. One method to achieve suction is to use a flame. With this method a flame is quickly inserted and removed with a hemostat into the cup. The cup is then quickly set atop the skin to achieve the suction. It is important to note that the flame is never directly on the skin or near it. 

Cupping can be used to treat:

  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • headache
  • cellulite treatment
  • anxiety
  • high blood pressure

Side effects can include mild bruising which usually dissipate within a few days. 

Once the suction is achieved, there are several techniques that can be used depending on the ailment. Cupping can be used in a sliding manner or stationary. You can think of cupping as an upside down massage. As in, instead of adding pressure to the muscle, cupping pulls the skin and superficial muscle layer upward. This allows the muscles to loosen and increases blood flow to the muscle. Cupping also helps calm the nervous system. Most patients find cupping to be quite an enjoyable part of treatment.