Contributing Writer  * Moses Idowu, B.Pharma *

Image Courtesy of Cupping Warehouse

Cupping therapy can be defined as an ancient type of alternative medicine in which a practitioner places special cups on the skin for a couple of minutes in a bid to create suction. There are numerous reasons as to why people decide to undergo cupping therapy. Most people do it to help with their pain management, inflammation, blood flow, general wellbeing, relaxation and of course as a form of deep tissue massage. Cupping therapy is suitable for the treatment of pains, Bi syndromes, inflammatory conditions, diseases of the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems, some skin conditions such as boils and eczema, wind-stroke (facial paralysis), weakness of the muscles, sports injuries, high blood pressure, the common cold, emotional conditions and cosmetic purposes such as treating cellulite and during weight-loss programs. Cupping has been known to be effective for back pain and that is why many people engage in it. The cups used for cupping therapy are usually made from bamboo, glass, earthenware, silicon or plastic. 

Types of Cupping

There are numerous types of cupping methods, however, they all include Dry and Wet cupping. During these two methods of cupping, the cupping therapist would place a flammable substance like herbs, paper or alcohol , set it on fire and quickly insert it and remove it from within a cup.  The cup is then placed upside down on your skin. The moment the fire is removed from the cup, the air in the cup begins to cool, the cooling effect creates a vacuum, which then causes your blood vessels to expand resulting in your skin rising and reddening. The cup is typically left in place for around 3 minutes or longer for Traditional Cupping treatments by Professionals. There is a much more modern variant of cupping that makes use of a  pump gun rather than fire in a bid to create that vacuum found inside the cup. There are sometimes when cupping therapists make use of plastic cups or silicone cups without a pump, which can be moved from one area of the skin to another to create a massaging like effect.

 When it comes to wet cupping, this process is done by creating a mild suction by placing the cup on the skin for around 3 minutes or so. Once this is done, the therapist then takes the cup off and makes small incisions in the skin using a scalpel. A second suction cup is then placed on the area by the cupping therapist to remove a small amount of blood. This is advanced cupping and should only be performed by trained Cupping Healthcare Professionals.

Wet Cupp​​​​​ing

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Dry Cupping

Benefits Associated With Cupping

One can describe cupping as basically the opposite of what a typical massage is. Rather than a therapist pushing down on the skin to exert pressure on numerous points of the body in order to heal it, cupping therapy works by using suction to pull the skin, muscles and tissues upward ensuring that fresh blood reaches the areas where you have pains and aches. Doing this helps to kickstart and hasten the healing process. There are numerous benefits associated with cupping therapy, especially if you are the type of person that has aches and pains, particularly in the back area. When you undergo cupping therapy, there are some changes that happen inside the body. The aim of these changes is to stimulate healing in the body.

When done correctly, cupping can promote the flow of blood to all parts of the body like the tissues and the muscles helping to remove stagnation. This also helps to supply nutrients and oxygen to the cells. Cupping also helps to soften any muscles that have been tightened. Knots and adhesions in the body are loosened due to cupping. The connective tissues are then lifted ensuring you have a greater range of motion. If there happen to be any blockages located in the lymphatic node, cupping helps to open these blockages whilst also easing proper lymph flow. 

Excess toxins and fluids like lactic acids are released and then drained from cells and tissues. The deeper tissues are not left untouched as inflammation is drawn from them all the way to the surface so they can correctly heal. Chronic congestion is eliminated by cupping. The peripheral nervous system is also stimulated.

When it comes to the effects of cupping  on the nervous system, cupping therapy helps to stimulate the sensory nerves of the skin.  Research has shown that the inhibitory effects on hypersensitive pain are not limited to the area of direct treatment, but include the areas controlled by the relevant nerves. Cupping therapy on the back is mainly directed to the central line (spinal nerves and parasympathetic nerves) and the sympathetic nerves beside it. The stimulation of these has, it can be said, a good influence not only on the autonomic nervous system itself but also on various organs under its control.

 As stated earlier, cupping therapy is, like a massage and that makes it very effective against general malaise like chronic headaches, dizziness, stiff shoulders, tiredness, fatigue and more. some of these symptoms tend to be derived from worry, anxiety and bodily pain. Cupping therapy is also very effective against endogenous chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, neuralgia and rheumatism but for medical treatments, a professionally trained Traditional Cupping Therapists is a must.  Cupping has also been shown to have an effect on the treatment of insomnia, as there were some patients that underwent cupping therapy and reported improved sleep patterns and longer rest moments.


Considering cupping therapy has been used for thousands of years, undergoing numerous stages of development until it was perfected, this is a great sign to just how effective it can be in treating every day issues that people suffer through. With the prevalence of chemical medication, cupping therapy provides an alternate to individuals that are searching for holistic ways to treat their health and pain related issues without the need for chemicals. There are numerous advantages and reasons as to why cupping has become extremely popular, with the fact that its application is extensive, it has been proven to be very effective, when it comes to price, its cost is low, and its easy application and it is safe without any adverse side effects. This is why numerous practitioners introducing cupping therapy into their practices.

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