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Cupping is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine. Using suction, cupping is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of chi/qi (life force), breaks up obstructions, removes “heat” from the body, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.

Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed, although cups may be placed on other areas of the body. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax chi/qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to 'open' these channels - the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing chi/qi.

What does cupping treat?

Cupping is used primarily to treat

  • respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion
  • arthritis and rheumatism
  • high blood pressure
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • back and neck pain, stiff muscles
  • anxiety, fatigue
  • migraines

What is the cost of cupping?

At Acupuncture For All Decatur, cupping is an additional service. The fee for a cupping session is $30.00. Cupping may be a stand-alone treatment or combined with acupuncture in one session, for the additional cost of $30.00.

Acupuncture packages may not be used to pay for cupping.

When to avoid cupping

There are several instances where cupping should not be performed.

  • Patients with inflamed skin
  • Cases of high fever or convulsions
  • Patients who bleed easily
  • Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back.

Is cupping safe? Does it hurt?

While cupping is considered relatively safe, it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. The cupping sensation can also be a bit painful for the first sixty seconds, the time during which most of the toxins are removed. It is helpful for the patient to try to relax into the process of being cupped, and to acknowledge and tolerate the pain.

Cupping may result in small circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. Any bruising caused by cupping is usually painless and disappears within a few days of treatment. Once the marks have cleared, the procedure can be repeated until the condition or ailment is resolved.


How does cupping work?

There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin. Placing an inverted cup over a small flame also creates suction. The flame removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.


Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping, but rather are a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the small cups. As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over a specific area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools.

Depending on the condition being treated, the cups will be left in place from 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach (and, to a lesser extent, the arms and legs), are the preferred sites for treatment.

Why does cupping work?

The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage - rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. Cupping can be used as alone as a treatment or combined with acupuncture, for an additional cost, in one treatment. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system.  




  • http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/abc/cupping.php
  • http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/09/20/many-benefits-chinese-cupping
  • http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16791/3-reasons-everyone-should-try-cupping.html
  • http://www.liveoakacupuncture.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Cupping-Technique-for-Pain-Relief-Brochure.pdf