Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction to cause local congestion through negative pressure created by introducing heat or vacuuming the cups. People get it for many purposes, including helping with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. Cupping method has the function of warming and promoting free flow of qi (chi/biological energy) and blood in the meridians, dispelling cold dampness, diminishing swellings and pains.

In clinic, the cupping method is mainly used to treat bi-syndrome caused by wind dampness, such as pain of the lower back, shoulders, and legs, gastrointestinal disorders such as stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea, and the lung diseases such cough and asthma. Cups may be made of: glass, bamboo, earthenware and silicone.

Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures.


There are different methods of cupping, including: dry and wet (This wet cupping is not applied in our daily practice). During both types of cupping, your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he puts the cup upside down on your skin. Or by using vacuum cups to create vacuum in the cups to sucks the skin and muscles up. While the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and become reddish as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 15 minutes.

A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.

Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for about 3 minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood. Afterward, you will be told not to take a bath or shower in the coming two days. Your skin should look normal again within 3-10 days.