Have questions? Click here to schedule a free 15-minute phone call.

Cupping: What is it?


Ever heard of an alternative medicine technique that’s been around for thousands of years but is still making waves in the world of health today? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of cupping!

Origins of Cupping

Cupping, often known in some circles as hijama, has impressive roots. Imagine this: Thousands of years ago, in ancient Chinese and Egyptian civilizations, people discovered a therapy that could treat a wide variety of ailments. They weren’t talking about acupuncture needles or heating pads; rather, they were captivated by the benefits of cupping.

The process wasn’t always as refined as it is today. Forget fancy glass or silicone cups; ancient practitioners used animal horns! How’s that for a blast from the past?

Dry Cupping vs. Wet Cupping

There’s not just one type of cupping out there. Depending on your health conditions, needs, or even personal preferences, therapists might recommend the following:

Dry Cupping

Think of this as a deep tissue massage but in reverse. The skin gets drawn upwards instead of applying pressure downwards like in a massage. It’s especially great for muscle tension and muscle tightness.

Wet Cupping

This method adds an extra step. After the initial cupping, small incisions are made on the skin to draw out a minuscule amount of blood. While it might sound a bit dramatic, it’s believed to remove toxins and impurities.

How Does Cupping Work?

Here’s the part where some people might get a bit queasy. After a cupping session, it’s not unusual to have circular discolorations on the skin. These aren’t your everyday bruises, but they’re marks left by the suction and the increased blood flow to that area. Think of them as little temporary tattoos that show you’ve given an ancient remedy a go!

If you’ve ever glimpsed someone emerging from a spa with mysterious circular marks on their back, your first thought might’ve been, “Did they wrestle an octopus?” Nope, they likely had a cupping session! It’s a fascinating therapy, and we’re here to unravel its mysteries for you.

The Science Behind Those Circular Patterns

Under the Spotlight

Though rooted in age-old traditions, cupping has made waves in the mainstream, popping up in conversations from gym locker rooms to Hollywood after-parties. Its surge in popularity isn’t just due to celebrities sporting those telltale circles; many find genuine relief in this therapy.

Endorsement from the Medical Fraternity

The likes of “Harvard Health Publishing,” the “Journal of Dermatology,” and even the “Cleveland Clinic” have dedicated research and discussions on this treatment, emphasizing its mechanisms of action and the therapeutic potential it offers.

The Suction Science

Vacuum Effect

Imagine a mini therapeutic vacuum. When a heated cup is placed on the skin, it creates a negative pressure or vacuum. This cooling air inside the cup causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand.

Boosting Blood Circulation

This is where the magic happens. The skin gets pulled, leading to an expansion of the blood vessels. It’s like giving your blood cells a VIP invite to a health-boosting bash!

Old Out, New In

The process displaces stagnant, old blood, making way for fresh, oxygen-rich blood. Think of it as a rejuvenating detox for your circulatory system.

Types and Techniques: A Quick Look

Wet Cupping Therapy

Contrary to what the name suggests, this isn’t a water-based therapy. Instead, small incisions are made on the skin before the cup is applied, drawing out a bit of blood. Think of it as a reset button for your skin.

Facial Cupping

Face cupping, anyone? This gentler variant uses softer, smaller cups, emphasizing skin health and rejuvenation.

Aquatic Cupping

Moving away from the fiery heat, aquatic cupping relies on water. It’s a refreshing approach preferred by some due to its absence of fire.


  • Cupping isn’t one-size-fits-all. It should be regarded as a complementary therapy that works in tandem with other treatments.
  • Always prioritize quality. Ensure that your therapist is well-trained and knowledgeable, whether they’re from the realm of Chinese medicine or a modern physical therapist who has embraced complementary therapies.
  • Health first. While cupping offers numerous benefits, it’s imperative to tread with caution. If you’re dealing with health conditions like blood clotting issues or diabetes mellitus, always consult a professional before proceeding.

What Are the Benefits of Cupping?

You’ve probably seen the photos of celebrities with circular marks on their backs and wondered, “What’s the deal?” It’s called cupping, and it’s not just a Hollywood trend.

Originating from Eastern cultures and rooted in ancient Chinese medicine, cupping has been used as a form of alternative therapy for ages. And guess what? Modern medicine, from Harvard Health Publishing to medical journals, is slowly recognizing its potential, too!

So, let’s delve into the fantastic world of cupping and see how it can be the “aha!” remedy you’ve been searching for.

Cupping: An Age-Old Solution for Modern Ailments

Cupping isn’t just a word thrown around in the world of complementary medicine. It’s backed by age-old traditions, from Persian medicine to oriental medicine practices. With different types of cupping, such as hot water cupping and methods that use a rubber pump, the principles remain consistent: create a vacuum that aids in pain relief and boosts health.

Why Consider Cupping? Here’s Why…

1. Safety First

Cupping is a non-invasive treatment. And hey, no surgical blades involved! This means it’s a gentle option for the majority, especially those with sensitive skin or a low pain threshold.

2. Organ Rejuvenation

Ever felt like your organs could use a little TLC? Through the action of cupping therapy, it helps rejuvenate body organs. It’s like a mini-vacation for your insides!

3. Blood Boost

This might sound like a superhero power, but cupping genuinely increases blood flow. Think of it as giving your sore muscles and organs a nutritious drink. And trust me, this doesn’t just maintain blood normal – it’s like a power boost for your circulation!

4. Bye-Bye Pain

Cupping is here to the rescue from chronic musculoskeletal, neck, and knee pain. It’s not just any pain relief; it’s the kind that makes you go, “Ah, that’s better.”

5. The Skin You’re In

Whether you’re battling eczema, acne, or other skin conditions, cupping might be the hero you’ve been waiting for. By improving circulation, it eases symptoms of various skin issues. However, just a heads up: Post-treatment marks can sometimes occur but are usually temporary.

6. Relax, Relate, Release

Cupping offers a similar relaxation sensation if you’ve ever had a deep tissue massage and loved it. Reducing muscle restrictions is like treating your body to a luxury spa day without the spa prices!

Cupping in Today’s World

Modern medicine, from the Cleveland Clinic to the Journal of Dermatology, might have different views, but there’s no denying the increasing interest in cupping therapies. While scientific evidence is still growing, many swear by its effectiveness.

While it’s essential always to seek medical advice before trying new health practices, especially if you have heart disease or lung conditions, it’s also prudent to remember that, sometimes, ancient wisdom has a place in our modern world.

Side Effects of Cupping

Have you ever looked at someone’s back, spotted a circular pattern of bruises, and wondered, “What’s that?” That’s the action of cupping therapy. This method, rooted in Chinese Medicine and revered by Eastern cultures, is increasingly recognized in the United States. But let’s break it down!

Bruising and Skin Irritation

The core thing about cupping is the creation of a vacuum using types of cups, which can cause your skin to rise and redden. This might result in skin discoloration, but don’t panic! It’s just stagnant blood being drawn to the skin’s surface.

Temporary Marks

Most folks notice post-treatment marks, which are often mistaken for injuries. Remember, these aren’t your typical bruises. They’re a result of the cupping therapies pulling blood to the surface, and they usually fade within 7 to 10 days. So, if you’ve got sensitive skin, expect a bit more color!

Is Cupping for You?

Heard about the wonders of alternative therapies and pondered if cupping fits the bill? Let’s dive in!

Join the Trend

From elite athletes to your next-door neighbor, many are turning to cupping to alleviate muscle aches, shoulder pain, and even chronic pain. The science might still be catching up, but countless individuals swear by its effects.

Complementing Modern Medicine

While Western medicine relies on pills and surgeries, oriental medicine, like cupping, leans on enhancing the body’s natural healing. Combine the two? That’s a recipe for health benefits galore!

Ask the Pros

At Inner Ocean Center for Healing, our therapists aren’t just well-versed in the methods of cupping therapy. We’ve got the insights, the experience, and the passion. Whether you’re intrigued by hot water cupping, curious about types of cupping, or just have questions about the therapy’s fit for your medical ailments, we’re here to guide you.

Remember, while cupping can be an effective treatment for many, always seek medical advice before diving in, especially if you’ve got skin conditions or other health concerns. Stay curious, stay open, but most importantly, stay informed!

Accessibility Toolbar