cuppingTraditional Chinese medicine brings to mind acupuncture and the use of natural herbs as healing remedies. Cupping is a lesser-known treatment that is also part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass or plastic jars as a suction devices placed on the skin. Suction in the cup can be created by placing an inverted cup over a small flame, or by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. At Soaring Crane Acupuncture we use plastic suction cups that work by a hand held device that pumps or draws the skin up into the cup, thus reducing any chance of burning.

Once the suction has been obtained, the cups can be gently moved across the skin (often referred to as “gliding cupping”). 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 into the muscles, it uses gentle suction to lift them upward. For most patients, this is a relaxing sensation that is very effective at reducing chronic muscle soreness.

The cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes, and is often combined with acupuncture during the same session. However, it can also be used alone.

The Benefits of Cupping

  • Encourages Blood Flow in Stiff Muscles
  • Relieves Back, Neck, & Shoulder Pain
  • Sedates the Nervous System
  • Reduces Migraines
  • Helps Rheumatism
  • Releases Toxins in the Blood


Child receiving cupping treatment

Child receiving cupping therapy for back pain