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Therapeutic Cupping

Image by Katherine Hanlon

What is Therapeutic Cupping?

Therapeutic cupping is an ancient healing practice that involves placing special cups on the skin to create a vacuum or suction effect. These cups can be made of various materials, such as glass, plastic, or silicone. The suction draws the skin and underlying tissues upward into the cup, promoting blood flow, reducing muscle tension, and stimulating the body's natural healing processes.


How it Works

During a cupping session, the therapist creates suction in the cups using different methods: manual suction, or vacuum pumps. This suction pulls the skin and muscle tissue upward, which can help to:

  1. Increase Blood Circulation: Cupping helps improve blood flow to the treated area, which can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues, as well as the removal of waste products.

  2. Relieve Muscle Tension: The suction created by cupping can release tight muscles and fascia, providing relief from muscular pain and stiffness.

  3. Promote Relaxation: Many people find cupping therapy to be deeply relaxing and stress-reducing, helping to alleviate tension and anxiety.

  4. Support Detoxification: Cupping can assist the body's natural detoxification processes by mobilizing toxins and metabolic waste from tissues.


Who it Can Help

Therapeutic cupping can be beneficial for a wide range of individuals, including those who:

  • Experience Muscle Pain: Cupping is often used to address muscle pain, soreness, and tension, making it popular among athletes and individuals with chronic pain conditions.

  • Seek Stress Relief: Cupping's relaxing effects can help reduce stress, anxiety, and promote overall well-being.

  • Desire Pain Management: People with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia or arthritis may find relief from cupping therapy.


Is it Painful?

Cupping therapy is generally not painful, although some individuals may experience mild discomfort or a sensation of tightness during the treatment. The level of suction can be adjusted to suit the client's comfort level, and any discomfort usually subsides quickly after the cups are removed.

Side Effects

While therapeutic cupping is considered safe when performed by a trained practitioner, some common side effects may include:

  • Temporary Skin Marks: Cupping can leave temporary circular marks on the skin, which usually fade within a few days to a couple of weeks. These marks are not typically painful and are a result of increased blood flow to the treated area.

  • Slight Bruising: In some cases, minor bruising may occur, especially if the cups are left in one place for an extended period.

  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Some individuals may experience mild dizziness or lightheadedness immediately after a cupping session due to the increased blood circulation. It's essential to rest and hydrate after treatment.

Is Cupping covered by my insurance?

Yes! This is just another manual therapy technique that can be used during your physical therapy session.  There will be no additional cost to you!


It's important to consult with your physical therapist to determine if cupping therapy is suitable for your specific health needs and concerns. Always communicate openly with your therapist to ensure a safe and effective treatment experience.

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