What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is an ancient non-drug alternative medicine treatment, by which a local suction is created in the skin to promote blood flow. In addition to China, it has been also applied in various western countries including Finland. TCM cupping therapy has long history and is very consistent with traditional Chinese medicine meridian theory. Originally mainly used by folk people, cupping therapy is now more and more recognized in China as one of the most effective holistic treatments.



How does TCM cupping therapy work?

According to traditional Chinese medicine theory,  if there is pain,  it means  the meridian is not through which caused  Qi and blood  to be stagnant.  Any health problem left unattended for long enough will cause  unwanted accumulation of water and blood, along with them some other dirty substances.   When there is such accumulation,  normal cells cannot get proper blood supply or get too much poison stuff.  They will then shrink or mutate to pre-cancer cells.   Cupping therapy, especially wet cupping,   promotes new blood flow which brings with it all the needed nutrition to nourish organs or tissues.  So it is effective the treatment of a lot of acute or chronic pain or health problems, including cancer. For people who don’t have obvious health problem, it can also help boost immune system and improve the general health situation.


Types of Cupping Therapy:

There are several types of cups that have been used:

.  Animal horns: These are mainly used in ancient China, not rarely used now.

. Bamboo barrels: These are mostly used in southern part of China where bamboo is abundant.

. Earthenware or ceramic cups: These are mostly used by ancient and countryside people, not so popular now.

. Glass cups with fire: These are also more ancient and traditional applications, although some practitioner still uses them today.

  • In all the above traditional cups or barrels, a flammable substance such as alcohol, herb, cotton or paper is placed in a cup and set on fire. Then a cup is quickly placed upside down on the patient’s skin. The fire inside will immediately die out and a negative pressure will be formed to create the warmth suction of the skin area. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for five to 10 minutes.  Minor burns could result in some cases if not handled properly.

. Plastic vacuum cups or medical-grade silicone cups: These are more modern and innovated cupping methods, where a vacuum gun is used to get the air out of the cup through the plastic valve. This is the most popular types of cups being used today.

With vacuum cups, there are two kinds of cupping

1)  Dry cupping (suction only, including cup sliding, cup flashing): mainly promote qi and blood flow through

2) Wet cupping (combination of suction and controlled superficial medicinal bleeding)

In addition to promote Qi and blood flow, this type of cupping will also help remove harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing.

During wet cupping, a mild suction is created using a cup that is left in place for about 20-30 minutes. The practitioner then removes the cup and uses a plum needle to make superficial skin tap. Then he or she performs a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.  After the procedure, the site may be covered with an antibiotic ointment (or some other TCM herbal healing powder) and bandage to prevent infection. The skin’s appearance generally returns to normal within 10 days. In some more aggressive cases,  it might take longer (such as months) for the skin to return to normal completely.  But normally, there shouldn’t be any scars.  Continue reading below… The British Cupping Society says cupping therapy can treat a variety of conditions. This has not been backed up by studies. But the organization says cupping therapy is used to treat:

What Kind of Problems can be treated effectively through cupping therapy?

Cupping therapy can be used to treat a lot of health problems effectively.  Although not as dangerous as acupuncture needles, a person do need to have some good understanding of TCM knowledge and concept to do it.   The following cupping remedies are based on traditional Chinese medicine theory and the 40+ years of clinical experience from the famous “Cupping King” Dr. Wang, Jin.


Neck or shoulder pain

Ankle twist

Knee pain or arthritis

Sleeping issues

Coughing or lung issue

Skin problem

Please refer to our cupping remedies for the whole list.