Cupping is an adjunct therapy in the Chinese Medicine repertoire that has recently been popularized by athletes such as Michael Phelps at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

There are a few varieties of cupping. Fire cupping, the practice we use at Kailo Acupuncture and Massage, is the practice of placing heated glass cups on the body, usually on the back, for pain relief.

The Process

The acupuncturist lights a cotton ball on fire and uses the cotton to heat up a small, round glass cup. When the cup is warm, the acupuncturist places it on your skin. Two to six cups are usually used in one treatment. It is quite comfortable; the cup is never hot enough to burn your skin.

The heat from the cup creates a suction effect, which sucks the skin away from the tissue below. The acupuncturist usually leaves the cup on your skin for five to fifteen minutes, then gently pulls the cup away.

Cupping can leave a mild mark on the skin that fades within two days. More intense treatments can leave a mark for two to four days. Dark marks, such as seen on Michael Phelps at the 2016 Olympics, are from very intense treatments and are not typical.

Don’t worry! The mark from a cupping treatment is not a bruise. Bruises are painful; cupping marks do not hurt.

Want to try cupping?

Book your session online! Select “New Patient Acupuncture”, and discuss cupping with your practitioner at your session.