People are becoming more and more familiar with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture and Acupressure continue to become more popular. However, there are many techniques of TCM that are still unknown too most. One of my favorite forms of treatment is called Cupping.

Cupping is a technique where glass cups are heated using a cotton ball that is soaked in alcohol, lit by a flame of a candle and placed inside a cup. This removes all the oxygen from the cup creating a vacuum.  The burning cotton ball is removed and the cup is tuned upside down and placed on the afflicted area of the body. The suction created pulls on the skin and removes toxins and relieves stasis. When done properly, cupping is extremely relaxing and enjoyable.



Cupping stimulates the flow of qi (vital energy) and blood, breaks up obstructions, and releases toxins from the body. It is successful in treating a number of conditions including pains and aches, arthritis, swelling, edema, stomachache, abdominal pain, indigestion, headaches, low back pain, bronchitis, asthma, congestion, painful menstruation, and more.

Cupping is usually performed on the back or abdomen and occasionally on the arms and legs. Cupping is never performed on the low back or abdomen of pregnant women, in areas where there are ulcers or wounds, in cases of high fever or convulsions, or on patients who bleed easily.


Cupping can leave temporary painless bruises that will take a few days to go away but it is a small price to pay for the relief the treatment provides. Most of the time there will be no bruising but depending on the severity of the obstruction there may be some. I’m sure you have seen round purplish/red spots on people’s backs before; they have most likely just received a cupping treatment.

Your acupuncturist will determine if cupping would be a good treatment for you but if you have never tried it before don’t feel shy to ask.

Have you had cupping before? I would love to hear about your experience.