Cupping How To Heal The Body Naturally

By on July 7, 2017

With all sorts of disease outbreaks and chronic illnesses happening today, people are looking for alternative treatment therapies to supplement existing western pharmacological methods.  Cupping is one of those treatments and is gaining popularity among health seekers.

The rise of antimicrobial resistance strains of bacteria has also drawn many to find different methods for battling difficult diseases and to relieve symptoms.

Side effects have always been one of the problems of common western medicine. Alternative or holistic treatment methods have been proven to be effective and also have less or no side effects, thus encouraging more and more people to search for such methods.

This article will reveal to you one of the most highly sought after traditional Chinese treatment methods besides acupuncture, known as Cupping.

Say Goodbye To Your Bad Health 

Cupping is famous as one of China’s therapeutic methods for treating a variety of diseases and symptoms. While relatively unknown to the western world in the past, currently more and more people are seeking after this great alternative medical treatment method.

The Background

In popular culture, Cupping has been found to be offered in Chinese Massage Parlors all over the world and it’s technique and skill has been passed down by generation to generation.

Now, western doctors have begun to integrate such practices into their medical practices because of its benefits in alleviating symptoms of chronic diseases and reducing unwanted side effects of pharmacological methods.

In the next few chapters, we will be having an in depth look into Cupping, its history, basics, and practical applications in treating ailments.


Cupping is an ancient traditional healing method used in China which dated back from the year 281 AD. This ancient medical practice was originally used by the Taoists in the imperial courts of that era.

Where It Originated

Although history has shown cupping to be used in other civilizations, its first use was documented by a practicing Taoist, alchemist, and a medicinal herbalist named Ge Hong.

image of ancient China

Ancient China

Ge Hong was famous during his time as an accomplished healer and a trusted confidante of many high officials in ancient China. He successfully applied cupping to treat a variety of diseases which couldn’t be cured by conventional methods in his time. 

Here’s a quick fact: Back in the olden days, animal horns were used for cupping, which gave rise to its name as the medicinal horn technique of healing.

Back in the Qing and Tang Dynasty, cupping has been used to treat pulmonary tuberculosis, moxibustion, common colds, back pains, knotted nerves and muscles, and arthralgia. It has also been used for promoting general health and wellbeing among patients who could afford it.

In the modern day China and elsewhere in the world, common glass cups or even fine plastic cups have been used to replace its ancestral animal horns and bamboo. The type of cups has also evolved over time to suit the patients’ needs.

Besides China, this technique has been also found to be used in deep East Asian regions, especially in Northern China, Japan, and the Korean peninsula. Certain areas such as the Middle East use a similar method known as “Wet Cupping”.  Today, cupping has also been implemented widely in eastern and western cultures through the process of globalization.


The basic concept of cupping is by using locally applied suction to improve blood flow and facilitate healing. Suction cups are placed on the body of the patient by a trained practitioner and then heated with fire.

Image of Fire Cupping

Fire Cupping

After heating, the rims of the cups are sealed and the heated cups create a partial vacuum after the cups cool off. This enables the cup to suck the skin, pulling in skin tissue and promoting blood flow. The concept is similar to acupuncture where “Qi” is draw to areas with poor blood or lymph circulation.

In another fireless technique, suction is created through hand pump and blood is collected. There are also modern pumps such as electromagnetic pumps which utilize the power of magnets and electricity to create suction. Collectively, this whole method of cupping is widely practiced and is known as “Dry Cupping”.

Another lesser used method, known as “Wet Cupping” has been used in the Middle East to a certain extent. The process is similar, but includes “bloodletting” or “drawing of blood” by making a superficial incision towards the skins before the suction process.

Cupping has been used extensively to treat a wide variety of diseases and symptoms either in combination with western medicine or stand-alone to relieve symptoms.


Cupping has come a long way from its predecessors- Bamboo cups, animal horns, brass cups and clay pots. The type of cup used has evolved to suit the needs of the current society and expectations.

What Is Used

Today, a wide variety of cups has been used in the process. The type of cup used also depends on the type of ailment to be treated.  

Some of the common cups used include:

-Fire suction Glass cup (most commonly used by professionals )

-Plastic Suction Cups (I personally use this one)

-Rubber cups

-Silicone cups

-Facial cups (for anti-aging)

-Biomagnetic cups

-Electric cups (instead of a manual hand pump)

The cups also come in different shapes and sizes for easy handling and for better targeting of the area to be suctioned. Sometimes, a special cupping torch is used to facilitate the heating of the cups.

Practitioners today also have improved their services in terms of health and hygiene by using sterile rubber gloves, blades wet cupping and alcohol swaps as a disinfectant. With the increase in healthcare standards, healthcare boards around the world are implementing guidelines to ensure the practice of health massages are regulated, safe and effective.

Ultimately, any tool used is effective as long as the practitioner is experienced in maximizing the potential of each tool. If the practitioner is not well trained, it doesn’t matter what tools you have, you won’t be getting a good session.

How To Perform Cupping

Cupping should be done by a qualified traditional medicine practitioner or a skilled masseuse. If done incorrectly, can cause injury or even aggravate existing conditions.

Here are some general guidelines as to the procedure:

  1. Clean the area to be soaked with warm water and soap or swap with disinfectant. Remove body hair.
  1. The cups are washed and targeted on skin with warm, lightly salty water, and dry before cupping.
  1. Select an appropriate size for the cup (smaller cups for smaller areas, bigger for bigger areas).
  1. Smear a small amount of oil, or cream to target area.
  1. Heat the inside of the suction cup briefly and attach suction cup onto targeted area
  1. The cups can be used individually or in combination according to your preference.
  1. After the desired treatment time, release the pressure in the cup by pulling up on the cup’s valve to release vacuum. Use this method to release cup gently (rather than wrenching it away suddenly) to prevent skin damage.
  1. There will be darkening of the skin on the targeted areas and this will last normally 3-4 days or even a week, so request consent from your patient before beginning

  1. During each session, keep the room warm.
  1. Duration: Use for no more than 15 minutes on target area, once or twice a day for 10 days
  1. After 10 days, give the area a rest of at least 1-2 days.

Application of Cupping

Under the hands of a skilled practitioner, cupping has been widely used to treat a variety of disorders and alleviate symptoms due to its blood and lymph circulation improving properties.

What It Can Help

Here is a list of uses of the ailments that can be treated.

-Blood disorders

-Rheumatic arthritis

-Muscular disorders

-Fertility and gynaecological disorders -Skin problems (eczema, acne) -Pain reduction

-Muscle or sports injury

-Common cold

-General and psychological well being

Bear in mind that it is not all in treatment but rather a supplementary therapy on top of existing western treatments. They can also be used concurrently or separately under the doctor’s advice.

Besides these medical uses, it has also some other additional uses, in particular for the beauty and cosmetics industry. Here are some of them:

-Facial cupping for improving skin tone and anti-aging

-Reduce stress and Increase energy together with reflexology -Weight loss and cellulite spot reduction -Detoxification

-Abdominal cupping for improved digestion.

Benefits of Cupping

Cupping conveys several benefits to common people, with or without illnesses. Some even go for regular cupping and treat it like a massage session (which is essentially what it is like).

The Advantages

Here are some great benefits of cupping:

-Increased energy flow. Cupping can be used to increase energy flow inside the body. By targeting specific parts of the body, stagnant, negative energy are brought to the surface, allowing the free flow of “Qi” or energy to flow through those points. 

The cups can be placed over the traditional energy collection points, which are also stimulated during acupuncture and shiatsu massage. The Chinese believe that a healthy energy flow is thought to improve both the physical and mental well-being of the client.

-Pain relief. Experiments have shown that patients who received cupping sessions found that it relieved chronic pain and helped improve range of motion to injured areas.

The clients who experienced this pain relief reported that the effects lasted longer than the pain relief from other remedies.

-Loosening the muscles. Cupping has also shown to loosen the muscles and reduce muscle stiffness to the affected areas. Loosened muscles and bring an influx of blood to the area and softens the underlying muscle tissues, leading to increased flexibility and a better sense of mobility.

-Relaxation. Like other massage techniques, cupping can be incredibly relaxing. The work is usually performed in soothing setting and the therapists touch is very light. Soothing music and ambient sounds can be incorporated to improve the whole experience.

Who Is Cupping Not Suitable For

Although cupping may convey many beneficial medical benefits, it should not be used in the following conditions:

-Pregnancy: Not during pregnancy or immediately after

-Metal in the body: Some cups contain magnetic components and can affect people with metal implants in the body such as pacemakers, insulin pumps or computer implants.

-People with severe bleeding disorders such as thrombocytopenia. -People with allergic skin reactions

Also, special precautions must be taken by people undergoing cupping, such as:

-If you experience dizziness or fainting during cupping, stop application immediately and take plenty of fluids and rest.

-For those with tender skin, lessen the cupping time to avoid blistering the skin

-If any blistering or infection occurs during or after cupping, ensure proper first aid or medical attention is given.

-Discoloration of the skin after cupping is normal and will disappear in a few days.

-In general, if you feel moderately uncomfortable with the cupping process, you should inform the practitioner immediately to prevent injury or worsening of the condition.

-Finally, for people with pre-existing medical conditions, This Practice should be initiated under a doctor or qualified practitioner’s advice.

Wrapping Up

The benefits of cupping as an adjunct therapy to western medicine in the treatment of medical conditions and alleviating unwanted symptoms cannot be ignored.

Through the process of globalization, we can see the different perspectives of medical fields – the East and the West come together as one.

Practitioners from both sides should get to know both sides better to come up with better treatment alternatives to difficult to treat illnesses and improve the provision of healthcare as a whole.

Whether you’ve got a back ache or simply want to cure some acne, cupping can be a quick and easy way to improve your condition under the hands of a skilled practitioner.

If you think cupping is your thing, try it out, you’ve got nothing to lose and all to gain.  The best way to find a professional would be to head over to and type in cupping in the search bar.  From there you can get reviews and locations of the practitioners in your area.  

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