Chinese Cupping Therapy

What is Chinese Cupping Therapy?

Chinese cupping therapy stems from ancient chinese medicine. It is used to relieve heat and stagnation by bringing blood flow and removing pain from the affected muscle.

How does it work?

  • Application of plastic or glass “cups” to the surface of the skin
  • Suction applied to the cups create a vacuum which gently draws the skin, muscle, blood vessels and connective tissue up into the cup
  • Often used as “sliding cupping” technique with an oil applied to the skin to allow the cup to “glide” up and down the length of the affected muscle
  • Extremely useful for muscle tension and myofascial complaints

Western Physiology:

  • Increases blood flow to muscles
  • Activates lymphatic drainage of wastes from tissues
  • Stretches and releases tension in the muscles and fascial connective tissue

chinese cupping therapy

Traditional Chinese Medicine:

  • Liver is responsible for muscle function
  • Pain and localized symptoms are often seen as impaired ability of the liver to circulate qi and blood, also known as “stagnation”
  • Cupping relieves stagnation and allows for harmonious circulation of qi and blood

cupping therapy, chinese medicine

Many of our patients have been asking lately, what exactly is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping is a technique that involves the application of glass or plastic “cups” to the surface of the skin.  A gentle suction is applied to the cups to create a vacuum which draws the skin, small blood vessels, muscle and connective tissue into the cup.  At Back to Health Wellness, our Naturopathic Doctor uses it typically in a “sliding” technique with oil applied to the skin to allow the cup to “glide” up and down the length of a muscle.  This functions to relieve muscle tension by stretching and loosening the muscle and connective tissue, while increasing blood flow and draining the lymphatic vessels to bring nutrients and drain wastes from the area.  This technique has been found to be extremely useful in acute or chronic muscle tension, IT band syndrome, shin splints and Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and has been used most recently by our very own Dr. Rodwin with great success.

Like acupuncture, Cupping Therapy is derived from Chinese Medicine. It is used to “relieve stagnation” and allow for “qi” and blood to flow freely throughout the body’s 12 meridians.

Types of Cupping Therapy

Fixed Cup Method:

The fixed cup method is when you apply a suction cup to the muscle. This is going to bring blood flow to the area. Blood flow is important as it brings the muscle the oxygen and the nutrients that it needs.

This method is known to leave behind what appears as a bruise.

“Sliding” Myofascial Adaptation to Cupping Therapy

In sliding cupping, the trained practitioner slides the cup up and down the length of the affected muscle. This increases blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to the area. This type of cupping therapy also stimulates the lymphatic system which helps to remove waste from the body.

By sliding the cup along the length of the muscle, you are actively stretching the muscle and the fascia.

Which style is right for me?

Just like any treatment at our clinic, cupping therapy is geared towards you as an individual. Your practitioner will perform the cupping style that benefit you the most!

Common Conditions that can be treated with Chinese Cupping Therapy:

Upper body:

  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Rotator cuff syndrome
  • Shoulder and elbow tendonitis
  • Numbing in the hands and nerve impingements

Lower body:

  • Hip tension and piriformis syndrome
  • IT band syndrome
  • Upper leg or knee pain
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis

Watch this video to learn more about cupping therapy and how it can help you!

If you’d like to learn more or try a treatment, talk to our Naturopath or our Registered Massage Therapist for more information.