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My patients love cupping therapy. In fact, many patients request cupping therapy with their acupuncture treatment.

What is cupping therapy?

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of medicine originating in China but practiced in many parts of the world including Egypt and Greece. With cupping therapy, suction is created on the surface of the skin with small cups. The suction pulls the skin slightly up inside the cups thereby helping to relax the muscles.

For what health conditions do you use cupping therapy?

Typically, cupping therapy is used for pain, tightness and limited range of movement. In Chinese Medicine, this is often called “qi and blood stagnation” which means that the flow of energy is blocked. The cups can increase blood flow and relax tight muscles.

The most frequent uses in my practice include:

  • neck pain and tightness
  • shoulder pain and tightness
  • back pain and tightness
  • hip pain and tightness
  • respiratory disease- common cold, cough, bronchitis
  • breathing issues from a respiratory disease (when patients report not being able to take a comfortable full breath).
  • detox (cupping can help the body eliminate toxins during a liver cleanse or whole body detox)

What does cupping therapy look like?

In my office, I use two different kinds of cups: glass and plastic. Glass cups require a flame to create suction (this is often known as “fire cupping”). Plastic cups are made of a thick plastic with a small valve at the top. We create suction on the plastic cups with a small hand-held pump.

Cups are placed on the skin and a suction is created. You may have seen pictures of people with the temporary marks left from cupping therapy- typically they are perfectly round bruise-like marks that range in color from pink to dark red. The marks can last up to 5-7 days.

Does it hurt?

If you have tight muscles, cupping can feel really, really good like a deep tissue massage. For most people cupping is a new sensation- kind of a strong pulling sensation. It’s not painful to most people. Some people really love the feeling, some people find it uncomfortable.

The great thing about the two options I have in my office is that with plastic cups we can adjust the strength of the suction to make the experience a little more comfortable.

What are the effects?

When we remove the cups, many people feel a sensation of relief. They experience more movement in their muscles and for some people the range of movement can significantly improve. The tightness and pain may also be relieved. If we are treating respiratory issues, many people feel they can take a deeper, fuller breath.

The therapeutic effects of cupping may take time to fully unfold. Most people see the full results of the cupping treatment within 24 hours.

Are you curious about trying cupping therapy?

I am always happy to answer your questions to see if cupping therapy is appropriate for you. If you are a current patient, ask me about this. If you are interested in becoming a new patient, give my office a call or send me an email.

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