Cupping: what it is and what it is used for

Cupping: what it is and what it is used for

How cupping works and what it consists of, what are the benefits for the body and beyond


  • How does it work
  • A typical session
  • Benefits

How does it work

Cupping (also known as cupping) represents an ancient therapy that is now used in the holistic, physiotherapy, medical, neurological therapeutic fields. The technique is used in a traditional and classic way by acupuncturists who usually use this tool, together with other practices such as moxibustion. Circulation improves both circulatory and lymphatic level. There are glass bowls of various sizes or in plastic and bamboo. In the bamboo and glass ones, a cotton swab is set on fire with alcohol and inserted inside, a vacuum is created with the heat and then placed on it. The application techniques are different, in addition to this fire technique that creates the vacuum through heat. There are also suction cups that take advantage of the suction system created by the material.

In the area of ​​the painful body or on a meridian connected to the manifestation of the symptoms, the cup is applied which exerts a suction function, lifting the tissue. Widely used to remove stagnation or excess and restore adequate circulation. The sensation immediately following the session, which then lasts for days, resembles a sense of general relief, not only physical but also mental. It does not involve particular risks but must be practiced with care in very thin subjects or those who tolerate the effect of sucking very little.

A typical session

The environment where the session takes place changes a lot depending on the context or whether it is a clinical or holistic environment. In the first case it is a simple study and the session is done on a bed with paper that is replaced for each patient. In the case of a holistic environment, the session often takes place in an environment with background music or relaxing sound frequencies and in some cases the therapist uses essential oils to reduce the subsequent redness. In both cases, the hygienic structure of the cups is respected after each application.

After considering the patient's clinical design and knowing the person's drug history, the therapist or therapist first of all understands whether cupping therapy could alleviate the pain. The treatment lasts at least ten minutes from the moment they are applied. The transparent cups allow you to better check the level of suction, the redness and the various neighboring effects. Some therapists decide to do a simple initial massage to warm the parts or a small massage after application to alleviate the effects, done with a few slipping maneuvers, light kneading and above all brushing, almost like in a lymphatic massage. In some holistic areas the body is subsequently relaxed through face and head massages or back to the foot area; these choices depend very much on the patient's general physical and emotional conditions, on the time available and on the therapist's intuition.

In the case of chronic pathologies, circulation must be improved in certain points and for this reason the cup is made to slide as in a massage along many muscular areas of the back, especially in the paravertebral area (not on the processes of the vertebrae). Sometimes the application of the cups is combined with the insertion of needles by placing it under the cup to treat a specific point or to further stimulate the affected meridian.


The technique improves circulation locally and stretches the tissues. Also used in prevention of allergic diseases, since it works on meridians that connect to internal organs. Excellent for pain or traumatic pathologies and in the treatment of pain of athletes. Very positive results in the treatment of back pain in the lumbar area and also with regard to all pain in the cervical area. On an emotional level, it brings well-being, calm, relaxation and represents a truly natural way to gain a balanced, less rigid posture in a short time. Excellent method to restore balance even on an emotional level, especially if there are patients with anxiety or generalized nervousness since it lowers the level of cortisol in the body. Good results also for those who have urinary problems or problems with the digestive system. Finally, the technique greatly alleviates the worsening of infectious or inflammatory situations that can give space to manifestations such as herpes, skin rashes or similar discomforts.

Sometimes, especially in treatments on the whole back, bruises, hematomas, redness can be created which only signify the work of emersion of the circulation. The reddened skin does not cause the occurrence of blisters or other discomfort. To resolve back pain or osteoarticular or muscular pathologies it takes at least 5 or 6 sessions. In chronic situations, 15 sessions are sometimes required. For those who take painkillers, the application of the cups does not lead to suspension of the intake but decreases it considerably as you progress with the cupping sessions.

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