What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping Therapy is an ancient form of alternative in which a therapist puts special cups on your  skin for a few minutes to create suction.  These cups can be made of  glass, bamboo, earthenware or silicone.  Reasons many people opt to receive cupping therapy include:

  • To treat joint or muscle pain
  •  To reduce inflammation
  • To increase blood flow
  • To induce relaxation and well-being 
  • Or simply as a type of deep tissue massage 

Whilst cupping therapy seems to have become very trendy over the last half decade or so, it is not new! In fact, cupping therapy dates all the way back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle eastern cultures, from the mid 16th century!

What to expect during a cupping therapy session?

During a cupping therapy at our clinic, the therapist will use a rubber pump to create a vaccuum, causing the skin to rise and turn red as your blood vessels expand.

Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for  a massage-like effect. Some people also get “needle cupping,” in which the therapist first inserts acupuncture needles and then puts cups over them.

Cupping Therapy

What Does the Research Show?

There haven’t been many scientific studies on cupping, however one report, published in 2015 in the Journal of Traditional and Complamentary Medicine notes that it could help with acne, herpes zoster, and pain management.

Similar findings were observed  from a 2012 report, published in PLoS One. Australian and Chinese researchers reviewed 135 studies on cupping. They concluded that cupping therapy may be effective when people also get other treatments, such as acupuncture or medications, for various diseases and conditions such as:

  • Herpes Zoster
  • Acne
  • Facial paralysis
  • Cervical Spondylosis
Cupping Therapy massage therapy Service at Excelsior Integrative Massage Therapy and Wellness, Toronto

But those researchers noted many of the studies they reviewed could have been biased and that better studies are needed. The British Cupping Society says that cupping therapy is used to treat:

  • Blood disorders (such as anemia and hemophilia)
  • Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fybromyalgia
  • Fertility and gynecological disorders
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and acne
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
  • Varicose veins