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Does Cupping Therapy Works and What Are the Benefits?

by Melanie Peterson

Cupping therapy originally came from China, and it is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to remove stagnation and stimulate the flow of “Qi” or “Chee”. In Chinese culture, Qi is the vital force or energy, forming part of any living entity. If the Qi is disturbed or interrupted, it can create blockages in the body. 

How Cupping Therapy Works? 

Cupping therapy can be executed in many ways. Traditionally, a burning cotton bud was placed inside a glass cup, which creates a vacuum inside the glass as the hot air cools. Then the cup was placed on the skin and then suctioned onto the skin. This increases the blood flow and loosens the connective tissue. 

Now, many doctors have shifted to using rubber pumps to create suctions compared to traditional heat methods. Sometimes the doctors or practitioners use only 2-3 cups, and sometimes they will cover your entire back with these cups. It depends upon the level of stagnation in your body.

There are two popular types of cupping. The first one is ‘Stationery Cupping.’ It is where the cups are placed on the affected area for a set time, usually 5 – 10 minutes. Whereas, Sliding Cupping is similarly like a deep tissue massage where the cups are smoothly moved over the area of pain continuously. The cups are usually placed on the back, shoulders, and neck and help break up scar tissues and reduce pain, just like a deep tissue massage.  

You might get 2 to 4 cups in your first session, but it entirely depends on your pain level. After the session, you get an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. Your skin may be bruised after this therapy, but the marks will go in 10-12 days, and your skin will look exactly like before. 

Benefits of Cupping Therapy

The benefits of cupping include muscle relaxation and pain relief. Cupping improves overall health by removing any blockages in the body. Moreover, the cups are also applied for significant acupuncture points, which is useful for many diseases like skin issues, digestive problems, or any pain related to acupuncture points in the body. According to many types of research, cupping therapy may also help with these health problems, 

  • Acne
  • Facial paralysis
  • Weak eyesight
  • Cough
  • Shingles and 
  • Cervical spondylosis. 

Suppose you have any internal injury and swelling that doesn’t seem to go away or have arthritis, and the inflammation doesn’t go anywhere. In that case, cupping can help in reabsorbing the fluids from the body’s fluids and move the swelling and inflammation out of the affected area. For athletes, cupping may help increase blood flow or help reduce pain. Athletes have to do many physical exercises, which makes muscles stiff and increases body pain. When the suction from the cups increases the circulation to the affected area, the additional blood flow to that area and help relieve muscle stiffness and reduces body pain. 

Cupping therapy helps in coping up with the stress. As the practitioner smoothly moves the cups across your skin, it helps in deep relaxation for the whole body, which reduces the stress. 

Another benefit of cupping is it helps in treating congestion and asthma. The suction from cups brings oxygen-rich blood towards your lungs and other respiratory muscles. These problems can be treated when cups are placed on your chest or face. Facial cupping also helps in unblocking your sinuses. Cupping has a detoxifying effect on your skin and can be clearly seen with a visible improvement in skin color after only 3 – 6 sessions. 

Side-Effects of Cupping Therapy

You may experience pain, redness, swelling, dizziness, or nausea during or after the cupping session. Cupping leaves bruises or purple marks on your skin, but these marks will eventually fade away after 10-15 days of the session. There is a low risk of infection after the cupping therapy, but this can be avoided if the practitioner follows the right method for cleaning your skin. Most importantly, the person doing this therapy needs to wear gloves and use clean equipment to avoid diseases like Hepatitis. 

People who are pregnant, people with diseases like cancer, blood disorders, organ failure, or hemophilia, and people taking bold thinning medicine should stay away from cupping therapy. 

According to a study paper of “Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies”, cupping may also cause: 

  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Fainting
  • Insomnia 

If a person experiences any of these side effects after the therapy, they should immediately speak to a medical professional. However, cupping is a low-risk therapy, and there are no serious side effects associated with it. The practitioner needs to follow all the safety measures before the treatment and will only benefit the patient. 

Prepare Yourself for the Therapy

Cupping is a long treatment which requires many sessions to recover from the diseases mentioned above fully. If you wish to try cupping, consider it as a complement for your doctor visits and treatment and do not take it as a substitute for it. 

Here are some essential things to consider before going for cupping therapy:

  • Experience of the cupping expert 
  • What type of methods will he be using? 
  • Does the practitioner implement safety tools and measures?
  • Do you have any conditions that may be treated with cupping therapy? 
  • Does the practitioner have any certifications or degrees to perform the therapy? 

With life sciences consulting on the rise, we can take a sigh of relief, as such industry leaders and experts are doing their best to provide life sciences firms and facilities with the right equipment to provide the best services to their clients/patients. As for cupping, this has been a traditional practice that has proven to be quite effective on the health of a person. 


Some research suggests cupping therapy does have many benefits, but those researches are considered low quality. More studies need to be done to understand the health impact of cupping therapy. For most patients, cupping therapy proved to be the best treatment, but like all the treatments, it is very important to see a professional who has good experience in a particular field. After seeing famous athletes and celebrities doing cupping therapy, it may be tempting to try it, but it is necessary to consult your doctor before going for cupping therapy. We have to wait until further research is done on this topic, proving that cupping is as good and beneficial as it claims to be. 

Author Bio:

I am an enthusiastic individual proficient in content writing and Quality Assurance. I currently work for a life sciences consulting firm in New York. My expert writing skills enable me to convert complex information into content that anyone can read. My technical educational background, combined with my know-how of content marketing, gives me an edge over others in a variety of blog posts.

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