Benefits Of The Ancient Art of Cupping

Apr 7, 2015 by | lifestyle

When we think of Traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture and herbal remedies typically come to mind. There are however many other aspects that make up this ancient Oriental medicine, in particular a treatment commonly referred to as cupping. Early documentation dates the practice of cupping back to 300 AD but many people are unaware of this treatment and its many incredible benefits.

Cupping itself is a technique in which glass, plastic or silicon cups are placed on the body at particular acupuncture points or along channels of the body. A practitioner must create suction in the cups before application and this can be done in a variety of ways. Plastic cups have air pumps that can be used to manually create suction and silicon cups are flexible enough that they can be compressed to form suction before placing on the skin. Glass cups, which are most commonly used, require fire of some sort to create suction. An inverted cup is placed over a small flame to create a vacuum inside the cup and then placed onto the skin. The suction within the cups causes the superficial layer of the skin to be drawn upwards and most people find it to be a very relaxing and relieving treatment. The cups can remain stationary on the body or be moved if oil is applied to the skin prior to application. Unlike a massage, which applies pressure inwards to relieve tension and pain, cupping uses gentle negative pressure outwards to relieve stiffness and discomfort.

This negative pressure not only loosens muscles but also increases blood circulation to the area and sedates the sympathetic nervous system. Cupping can therefore be used for not only relieving muscular pain, but conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety and chronic stress. When combined with acupuncture, cupping is highly effective in treating stubborn, back and neck pain. This treatment is also valuable for respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and tuberculosis as it clears congestion and blockages within the lungs. More recently cupping has been used for weight loss and reducing cellulite and stretch marks as it improves blood circulation and draws toxins out of the body. Cupping is one of the best deep tissue treatments available as it affects tissues as deep as 4 inches below the superficial skin. The treatment is not painful but will leave bruises on the skin that are not dangerous and will disappear within a week.


Dharmananda, Subhuti.

Joswick, Diane, Cupping: How Gwyneth Paltrow Got Her Spots,