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   Cupping therapy is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine. The earliest recorded use of cupping dates to the early fourth century.


   Cupping, also termed as the "horn method" in ancient China, is a therapy in which a jar is attached to the skin to induce local congestion and blood stasis through the negative pressure created by introducing heat by an ignited material inside a jar. It is believed that the action of drawing up the skin results in the opening of pores, leading to improved blood flow, harmonized QI flow, disruption of blockages, and the facilitation of toxin removal.


   Cupping therapy has proven to be highly effective in the treatment of chronic back pain, dermatitis, discoloration, cough, asthma, fibromyalgia, stomach ache, arthritis, while also providing detoxification and pain relief benefits.


Practitioners can perform cupping using different methods.

  • Fixed cupping. (a 10 to 15-minute procedure.)
  • Flash cupping. The cup is repeatedly and swiftly applied to the same spot, resulting in hyperemia of the skin.
  • Walking cupping. Massage oil applied to the back, and then only 1 or 2 cups are used on the back. The practitioner slowly glides the cups over the patient's back. This is a fantastic myofascial release and is far more effective than a deep tissue massage.
  • Blood-letting cupping. Cupping can transition into bloodletting in several ways. One method entails administering acupuncture to the patient, focusing on the patient's back. Following the removal of the needles, the cups are applied immediately. A second option is to plum blossom the area first, instead of using acupuncture needles. The vacuum from the cups draws blood to the surface.


   Cupping is considered relatively safe procedure (especially air cupping, which does not include the risk of fire and heat). It can cause some swelling and bruising off the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may cause small, circular bruises in the areas where the application area. These bruises are usually painless and disappear within a few days of treatment.


   There are several instances where a cupping procedure should be avoided:

  • Patients with inflamed skin
  • High fever or convulsions
  • Patients who bleed easily


   Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back.


   If the cups are being moved, they should not cross bony areas, such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder blades.




The Cincinnati Acupuncture Clinic uses the Fire Cupping technique for their Cupping Therapy sessions.


The concept of cupping has gained popularity in America thanks to Michael Phelps. It's wonderful that more people are being exposed to Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Nevertheless, within the realm of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture continues to be the foremost technique employed for the treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders, with cupping serving as a complementary ajunct intervention.


Call 513-288-4448 to setup a consultation.