Cupping Therapy

There are several different types of Cupping, but the most traditional way to perform Cupping is called "Fire Cupping", and it is a practice within Traditional Chinese Medicine that goes back thousands of years.  Fire Cupping is the method of using a glass cup with smooth edges, along with a flame, which creates suction.  Suction is created by lighting an alcohol soaked cotton ball on fire.  This controlled flame is held with a clamp, while it is quickly dipped in and out of the cup to consume the oxygen, resulting in a temporary vacuum. After the flame is removed, the cup is quickly placed on the skin before the suction is lost.  The flame does not come in contact with the skin, and the cups do not feel hot.  Once the cup is placed, it may be left there (stationary cupping) or moved around (running cupping), using suction to relieve stagnation wherever it is used. 

Cupping 3.jpg


  • decompresses the soft tissues and relieves muscle tension

  • alleviates stiffness and pain and improves mobility

  • helps break up adhesions in the fascia

  • improves circulation of blood and lymphatic system

  • improves recovery from colds and upper respiratory infections

When injuries occur deep in the muscle, for instance after an auto accident, or a sports injury, bleeding often occurs causing deep bruises that may not be seen on the surface of the skin. There may also be swelling or edema in the area from the coagulation of fluids and proteins. The combination of these factors usually results in poor blood flow and stagnant circulation in that area – resulting in pain, stiffness, and dysfunction.  Cupping helps draw that poorly circulation stagnant blood to the surface, in order to bring fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the tissues so they can heal faster.

Because stagnant blood is being pulled to the surface to be released, cupping often results in red or purple areas where the cups were placed.  This is a normal response to cupping, and a good sign that your body is responding to the cupping therapy.  The color of these marks will range from light red to dark purple.  How dark the cup marks are and how long they last also depends on the strength of the suction, the length of treatment, and the condition being treated.  Your body will usually clear them in 5-10 days, but it may take longer in very sick or sedentary individuals.  Healthy tissues typically respond with a light pink coloration that indicates improved circulation, and this clears quickly. 

Usually, the greatest amount of darkly colored areas on the surface of the skin will show up in the first few treatments. Sites where there is old trauma or injury will show the most pronounced response, and may require multiple Cupping treatments.   In follow up treatments the marks should become progressively lighter and fade more quickly as the deeper injuries are healed.  This is a good indication that pathogens, stagnant blood, and toxins have been drawn up and flushed out via the body’s own circulatory systems.

Your practitioner will ask your permission before using this modality, and will advise you about the appearance of red or purple cup marks after your treatment.  These cup marks often look like bruises, but are typically not as tender as a bruise.  However, family and friends who are not aware that you've had cupping therapy may be concerned that you are injured, so please educate them to ensure they are not concerned for your well being.

If you have any further questions about Cupping, please don't hesitate to Contact Us.