What is cupping therapy?

Cupping therapy is a practice that involves briefly attaching rounded inverted cups to certain parts of the body using a vacuum effect. Some proponents suggest that the drawing of the skin inside the cups increases blood flow to the area.

How does cupping therapy work?


Cupping therapy can be performed in different ways. Traditionally, a burning cotton bud is placed inside a glass cup, which creates a vacuum inside as the hot air cools. The cups can also be attached to a pump that creates suction. Red, swollen welts appear where the cups were placed.

The treatment isn’t necessarily painless. “It felt like a pocket of my skin was being sucked by a vacuum cleaner and pinched with an elastic band,” Mirrorreporter Hannah Hope said of the treatment.

The therapy is believed to mobilise blood flow to the skin, which creates “a mild immune response”, Kathleen Lumiere, an assistant professor of acupuncture and oriental medicine at Bastyr University in Washington, told the Wall Street Journal in 2012


What are the benefits of cupping therapy?

The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite.

Some other benefits of hot stone massage include:

  • relaxing tense muscles
  • aiding pain relief
  • alleviating depression
  • promoting sleep
  • improving circulation.


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