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How Cupping Therapy Can Help You

November 24 | 2023
Posted by Sharon Tierney

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Cupping therapy on a patient

Image by Freepik

What is cupping?

Cupping is one of the techniques that has been used since ancient times. At first, it was used in Chinese, Egyptian and Middle Eastern culture and continues to be used for many years.

Cupping Therapy is a technique which uses different sized cups to do suction on a body part by creating negative pressure. Importantly, it helps to increase blood circulation in the area. Additionally, it is beneficial in the treatment of pain like musculoskeletal pain, tension headaches and more. Similarly, \ cupping can also be helpful with muscle tightness and to help reduce areas of inflammation.

To create the suction effect, they use cups made of different materials like silicon, glass, bamboo or more. Sometimes, they may combine it with additional techniques like fire, manual pumping or automatic pumping to create a vacuum.

How is cupping performed?

  1. Dry cupping: In this technique, the provider will cover the affected area using 3-5 cups. Next, they will leave the cups in place for 5-10mins.
  2. Wet cupping: In this technique, the provider will use need needles to puncture your skin before placing the cups overtop. Then, they will keep the cups there for 5-7 mins. Afterwards, to prevent infection, they will give you a bandage and antibiotic ointment.
  3. Running cupping: In this technique your provider will apply oil or lotion on the affected areas. After placing the cup at one point, they will slide the cup in a different direction to cover and massage a larger area.
Cupping therapy using running cupping technique

Running cupping technique shown massaging a patient’s leg. Image by Racool_studio on Freepik

Who can get it? 

Cupping therapy may be beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tension headache

Who should not get it?

Cupping therapy is contraindicated for individuals with:

  • Cancer
  • Blood disorders
  • Open wound
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Fracture
  • Person with pacemaker
  • Person on blood thinner
  • Directly over an infected area
  • Excessive swelling


What are the side effects of cupping therapy?

There are a few side effects which you can see during or immediately after treatment. For example, discoloration, circular marks, and/or pain or mild discomfort around the treated area.

Cupping can be done by a registered health professional. If you are interested in cupping or want to learn more about it, contact us at PhysioNow.

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