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What Does Cup Therapy Do

When Will The Marks Go Away

Using Cupping Therapy to Relieve Pain

These harmless marks will slowly fade before disappearing completely after approximately 1 week depending on the skins regenerative ability. After regular cupping treatments, you will find that the marks will visibly become lighter and lighter.

  • Light pink: Fade within a few minutes to an hour.
  • Dark red: Fade between 3 days to a week

If you do not wish to have marks on certain areas, please let your TCM physicians know beforehand.

Does Cupping Therapy Really Work

But Dr. Blackwelder remains skepticalhe doesnt use cupping in his practice. He says theres little research that proves that any healing actually takes place with cupping. One problem? The design of studies looking at cupping therapy isnt great, since its hard to tease out whether the actual process of cupping is responsible for the results.

It comes down to the placebo effect, Dr. Blackwelder says: If people simply think theyre getting a treatment, that belief can sometimes be enough to help improve their condition.

In high-quality studies, neither the researchers nor the participants know if theyre getting the actual intervention, or just a placebo used as a control. Afterwards, the researchers then compare the results to see if there was a significant difference between the groups. Its difficult to blind participants to whether theyre getting cupping therapy or not, though some studies use sham treatments that mimic aspects of cupping.

Still, it means the placebo effect could play more of a role in the results, according to a study in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.

First Things First How Does Cupping Therapy Work

“Cupping therapy is a type of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization , more specifically known as myofascial decompression,” says Dr. Propes.

Factors like a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, inflammation, overusing muscles or a muscle strain or injury can cause fascia to bind with the underlying soft tissues.

These myofascial adhesions or muscle adhesions, if not treated or released, lead to stiffness and pain. Over time, they can also result in tender muscle knots commonly known as trigger points, muscle weakness and restricted mobility.

Cupping therapy works by decompressing or separating the layers of muscle and fascia to break up these adhesions while simultaneously increasing local blood flow and oxygenation, explains Dr.Propes.

Essentially, its almost like an equivalent of deep tissue massage but instead of having a trained masseuse knead your muscles to release pain and tension, it uses suction from the cups to lift and separate the soft tissues, says Ani Baran, founder of NJ Acupuncture Center and a trained practitioner of holistic treatments like acupuncture, massage and cupping therapy.

This suction is thought to increase blood flow, release tension and knots in the muscles, relieve pain, improve lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling and remove built-up toxins, among other things.

“Think of cupping like a household vacuum cleaner to carpetit pulls out metabolic waste and other unwanted materials from your tissues,” says Dr. Propes.

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How Do I Find A Provider

You can find a facial cupping provider by doing a simple Google search for local acupuncturists who specialize in facial rejuvenation.

Acupuncture Today, a leading news outlet for Traditional Chinese Medicine, offers an online directory of Chinese Medicine practitioners throughout the United States. You can refine your search to look for local practitioners who specialize in cupping or facial acupuncture. hosts an international directory of acupuncturists and other practitioners who specialize in cupping.

As with any treatment, you should set up a consultation before your first session. Take this time to ask about their credentials, where they were trained in facial acupuncture, and how long theyve been practicing this specific modality.

Cupping Therapy Outcomes In Certain Medical Conditions

Meridius Cupping Set with 17 Cups

Cupping therapy is reported to treat a variety of diseases due to the effects of multiple types of stimulation.38 Cao and associates suggested that cupping therapy appears to be effective for various medical conditions, in particular herpes zoster and associated pain and acne, facial paralysis, and cervical spondylosis.41 Cupping therapy is often used for lowering blood pressure and prevents the development of cardio vascular diseases CVDs in healthy people.42 Wet cupping in conjunction with conventional treatment is reported to effectively treat oral and genital ulceration in patient with Behçet’s disease.43 There is growing evidence that wet cupping is effective in musculoskeletal pain,44 nonspecific low back pain,45 neck pain,46 fibromyalgia47,48 and other painful conditions.14 Michalsen et al. concluded that cupping therapy may be effective in alleviating the pain and other symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.49 Cupping therapy is also found to be effective in headache and migraine.11 Cupping therapy is effective for reducing systolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients for up to 4 weeks without any serious side effects.50 Evidently, cupping therapy is effective in the treatment of cellulitis.51 Cupping therapy has been used with various level of evidence in many conditions such as cough, asthma, acne, common cold, urticaria, facial paralysis, cervical spondylosis, soft tissue injury, arthritis and neuro-dermatitis.41,52

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Are There Any Side Effects Of Cupping Therapy

One of the biggest concerns surrounding cupping therapy is the infamous circular bruises that happen afterward. However, rest assured that the bruising looks worse than it feels.

“Cupping can result in temporary discoloration of the skin, what we call petechiae,” explains Snyder. “These marks are a result of improved blood flow to the area and will dissipate either the day of treatment or up to two weeks , depending on the level of injury and underlying health.”

Despite how it looks, the marks don’t actually feel like a bruise. “These cupping marks do not hurt. In fact, you even know they there,” says Auth. The color of the marks can range from dark purple to light pink, or sometimes no marks at all, she explains. “A darker mark can indicate a higher level of tension, but the cups are still working even if you don’t have marks.” That said, you might not want to undergo cupping therapy if you have a special event coming up.

Additionally, you might need to avoid cupping therapy altogether if you have any bleeding or blood clotting disorders such as hemophilia, and those with psoriasis or eczema may also find the therapy irritating, according to the Cleveland Clinic. When in doubt, it’s best to consult with a doctor if you have any concerns.

Does Cupping Help With Lower Back Pain Pinched Nerves And Knots

Cupping is an effective technique to get rid of muscle tension related aches and pains such as: lower back pain neck and shoulder aches tension headaches and loosen off tight knots.

Cupping therapy can even help you to treat pinched nerve symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness as long as pinching of the nerve is caused by tight muscles and is not pathological.

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What Is Cupping Good For

“Cupping is useful for musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia and other pain conditions such as headaches or migraines, tendinitis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis and release of trigger points. So, athletes, weekend warriors or anyone with acute or chronic pain can benefit from cupping,” says Dr. Heather Moday, board-certified allergist, immunologist and physician and author of The Immunotype Breakthrough.

“In addition to immediate relief of tension and discomfort, cupping therapy can also be used to rehabilitate injuries such as tendinosis,” says Dr. Propes. Acute and chronic tendinopathies are characterized by decreased blood flow to the injured tissue. IASTM promotes healing by increasing the blood flow to tissues and improving oxygenation, explains the holistic health expert.

“A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that myofascial decompression or cupping therapy is also beneficial in treating iliotibial band syndromea very common injury in both recreational and professional athletes,” says Dr. Propes.

Other than that, “cupping may activate the parasympathetic nervous system inducing a relaxation response which increases the threshold to pain,” adds Dr. Moday.

Even so, the scientific evidence on the benefits of cupping is fairly limited. So if you want irrefutable evidence of the clinical efficacy before trying a new treatment, you may want to pass on cupping therapy for now.

Why Do People Seek Cupping

Cupping Therapy Techniques for the Shoulder

Itâs not just for athletes. Itâs for your everyday person who deals with painful headaches, extreme soreness, and high blood pressure, to name a few troublesome problems.

Anyone can seek this treatment for many purposes, which include relief like:

  • Easing inflammation
  • Helping you with body pain
  • Helping you relax and improve your well-being

Itâs a type of deep-tissue massage. Read on to get a more extensive list of the benefits of cupping!

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What Is Cupping Therapy Here’s What To Know About The Benefits And Risks

Michael Phelps is a fan of the Ancient Chinese therapy.

When Michael Phelps made his debut at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, spectators noticed something unusual about the gold-medal-winning swimmer. His back and shoulders were covered in perfectly round purple bruises, a few inches in diameter.

The explanation for the circular markings? Cupping therapy, a form of ancient Chinese medicine purported to treat athletic aches and other pains.

“Ive done it before meets, pretty much every meet I go to,” Phelps said in Rio, according to the New York Times. So I asked for a little cupping yesterday because I was sore and the trainer hit me pretty hard and left a couple of bruises.

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Cupping therapy has been around for centuries, but recently, a number of athletes and other celebrities have become devotees: Alex Naddour, the U.S. gymnast Justin Bieber David Arquette.

But can a couple of cups on your skin really make a difference in whats going on in your body? Let’s take a look at how cupping therapy works.

What Are The Risks Of Cupping Therapy

The risks associated with cupping therapy are minor, and include noticeable, hickey-like bruising that occurs due to damage to your blood cells.

The blood oozes from the vessel and into the tissue, which is what youre seeing, Dr. Blackwelder says. Its a very normal part of therapy, and it isnt painful.

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What Exactly Is Cupping

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The 2016 summer Olympics had its share of exciting performances, upsets, and photo finishes. But for days after Michael Phelpss first appearance at the games, it seemed all anyone could talk about was “cupping.” Its an ancient therapy that left multiple circular discolorations on his skin. During “dry cupping,” suction is applied to the skin for several minutes sometimes it is combined with massage, acupuncture, or other alternative therapies.

Cupping is supposed to draw fluid into the area the discoloration is due to broken blood vessels just beneath the skin, much like a bruise. Cupping has been popular in Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures going back thousands of years, but increasing numbers of people worldwide have been adopting it. Celebrities and athletes have popularized it in the U.S. in recent years.

What is cupping supposed to do?

According to its advocates, cupping is supposed to promote healing and has been used extensively for sore muscles. But thats only the beginning. Cupping has also been used for

  • back and neck pain
  • improving immune function.

Does cupping work?

Still, there have been studies comparing actual acupuncture with convincing but fake acupuncture. Similar studies of cupping could be possible. And if cupping truly helped, you may not care if its due to the placebo effect.

Are there risks involved with cupping?

What The Experts Want You To Know Before You Try Cupping

What Exactly is Cupping Therapy and How Does it Work?

High Angle View Of A Relaxed Young Man Receiving Cupping Treatment On Back


Cupping therapy has been one of the most buzzed-about alternative treatments in the wellness space for years now.

Even celebrities and athletesfrom Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham to Michael Phelps, Ian Kennedy, Steven Adams and Alexander Naddourhave vouched for the benefits of this integrative therapy.

But cupping has been around for long before Phelps made it “cool” back in 2016 during the Rio Summer Olympics.

“Cupping therapy is one of the most ancient and revered healing techniques,” says Dr. Jessica Duncan Propes, Atlanta-based doctor of chiropractic specializing in sports injury management, recovery and wellness care.

In China, the earliest documented use of this holistic treatment can be traced back to around 300 AD. Meanwhile, in Greece, Hippocrateswho’s considered the father of modern medicineused as well as advocated the technique for treating various ailments.

The traditional practice is even mentioned in the Ebers Papyrusone of the oldest medical textbooks which dates back to 1550 BC, notes Dr. Propes.

If you’re looking to hop on the cupping bandwagon, there are a few key things you should keep in mind, prior to booking your appointment, to get the most out of the treatment.

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What To Expect During Cupping And Is It Safe

During the treatment a therapist will apply round cups onto the various areas of your body. There are two types of cupping: dry and wet, and there are at least four different types of cups which are made of bamboo, glass, silicone and earthenware. Dry cupping utilises only suction technique, whereas wet cupping could also include controlled medical bleeding.

To apply cups on the skin, therapist would usually apply flammable substance on the cups and set it on fire. I know, it might sound off putting, but it is totally safe as long as you see a qualified professional for your treatment. When fire is starting to go down, a therapist will apply a cup on your skin.

While cooling, the air in the cup will create a vacuum sucking your skin deeper into the cup. The skin will then change in colour and become read-ish, this process is a result of the expanding blood vessels in the area.

Does Cupping Remove Toxins

According to the research mentioned above, cupping may remove toxins by stimulating the immune response, both locally and systemically.

It may also eliminate uric acid, a natural waste product from the digestion of certain foods. Uric acid buildup can lead to high levels of acidity in the blood and urine.

Cupping may also have a positive effect on the lymphatic system, which is partially responsible for eliminating your bodys waste.

When the flow of lymph is interrupted, it can cause fluid buildup and prevent the body from properly eliminating toxins. Lymphatic drainage massage is one solution to this issue. Similarly, cupping may help increase the flow of lymph and prevent fluid buildup.

The evidence for cuppings ability to remove toxins is promising, but more research is needed to confirm it.

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What To Ask Your Doctor First

Talk with your doctor before you start cupping or any other type of alternative or complementary medicine. And talk extensively with your cupping therapist, too, before you try it. Ask:

  • What conditions do they use cupping for?
  • What is your training?
  • What is your experience in using it?
  • Am I already getting the standard treatments for my condition?
  • Are there reasons I should not get cupping?

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Who Should Avoid Cupping Therapy

What is Cupping? How Does Cupping Therapy Work? – Back to Health Wellness Centre

“Cupping is contraindicated in patients on kidney dialysis, those with severe cardiovascular disease or in cancer patients undergoing immunosuppressive treatment,” says Dr. Moday.

In addition, cupping is also inadvisable for anyone with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia or taking blood thinners, notes the internist.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , those with eczema or psoriasis should also avoid cupping as it may worsen their symptoms.

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Cupping Can Reduce Stretch Marks And Scars

Increased blood flow enables your body to dispose of toxins, restores lymphatic circulation, and helps remove edema , which helps reduce the appearance of scarring. Studies have shown the positive effects of cupping on stretch marks and scars even in areas that are far from the area where the cups are applied.

When To Avoid The Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy should not be applied if you experienced:

  • An acute injury and have bruises
  • Fractured bones,
  • Complete tears of ligaments or tendons.

Precaution should be taken if you are taking regular anticoagulants. You should communicate this to your therapist because it might cause a longer lasting bleeds on your skin. Cupping should not be applied on eyes and on the lower and upper abdomen during pregnancy. Lower back can be cupped up until sixth months of pregnancy.

Try to avoid cupping if you are on a fasting diet for your own personal or religious reasons as fasting decreases bodies energy and might prolong the recovery after the treatment.

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Should You Try Cupping

According to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, moms-to-be shouldnât seek this treatment due to the lack of research and knowing little about cuppingâs effects on pregnancy. You should also avoid cupping if you have:

  • Bleeding disorders like hemophilia
  • Blood clotting concerns, like deep vein thrombosis or history of strokes
  • Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis

If you donât fall under these categories, seeking cupping treatment may be worth your while.

Although the cupping technique has been around for thousands of years, thereâs still not too much high-quality research done on its short-term and long-term effects.

Please be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist first before seeking this treatment!

Is It Scientifically Proven

15 best Cupping Massage LA images on Pinterest

There is a growing body of research digging into how and why cupping may work.

A 2018 review of studies noted that cupping therapy has reported benefits for a variety of conditions that can be categorized as either localized or systematic diseases.

Cupping is thought to alleviate symptoms by promoting peripheral blood circulation and improving immunity.

According to the 2018 review, the effects of cupping therapy include:

  • promoting the skins blood flow
  • changing the skins biomechanical properties
  • increasing pain thresholds
  • reducing inflammation
  • boosting cellular immunity

According to a 2017 study, the mechanical effect of cupping increases local blood flow and stretches underlying tissue.

Activation of Heme oxygenase-1, a gene that plays a critical role in the prevention of vascular inflammation, could account for many of cupping therapys claimed local and systemic health benefits.

A 2019 study noted that no single theory exists to explain the whole effects of cupping, but some theories include:

Despite multiple theories, more quality research is needed to confirm the effects of cupping as well as the mechanisms by which they may or may not support healing.

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