What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping Therapy is an ancient healing technique with documented use dating back thousands of years. Here in North America, we commonly think of Cupping as a Traditional Chinese Medical treatment because of it’s widespread use in Asian culture. However, the earliest known use of cupping dates to 3000BC in Egypt. Historians believe cupping therapy spread from Egypt to both Ancient Greece (where Hippocrates well known to use it) and China, where it enjoys widespread adoption today. In fact, in the 1950’s cupping was established as an official therapeutic practice in China and is currently used in hospitals across the country.

Here in North America, it has become wildly popular in recent years thanks to a number of celebrities and athletes proudly displaying their “cupping marks” in public and the fact that it WORKS!


How Does Cupping Therapy Work?

The technique involves lubricating your skin with either castor or coconut oil, then placing glass or silicone cups on the lubricated area and creating a vacuum between your skin and the cup using either fire (burning an alcohol soaked cotton swab) or a pump (manual suction). This pulls you skin and the underlying tissue up into the cup…

Basically, a massage in reverse! Instead of pushing your skin and tissue down (in massage), I’m drawing it up with suction.

Often, cupping works along acupuncture meridians and frequently incorporate acupuncture with cupping therapy during the same treatment session to get the compounding benefits that come from stacking certain techniques on top of one another.

The cups are generally left in place for between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the area being worked on.

Sometimes the cups are moved (or glided) along the meridian being worked on, which is often referred to as massage cupping therapy.