What is cupping?

by Dr. Alexandra Robin

For thousands of years, cupping therapy has been one of the most sought after alternative treatments for chronic pain and disease in traditional Chinese Medicine. Among the many different alternative approaches, cupping proves to host many health benefits that can often complement modern medicine techniques.

One of the most effective deep tissue manipulation techniques, cupping is a technique during which the doctor or therapist creates a vacuum or suction within a silicone cup, and places it onto the skin. The open surface of the cup is placed on the skin, and the vacuum pulls the skin and superficial myofascial layer up into the cup. The cups can be left in one place, or they may be glided across the skin by the practitioner.

What does cupping treat?

Cupping encourages blood flow, relaxes tension within the muscles, and sedates the nervous system. This technique is believed to treat many ailments and diseases. Some of these include:

  • neck & back pain
  • muscle tension and stiff joints
  • anxiety/depression
  • fatigue
  • migraine headaches
  • hypertension
  • rheumatism
  • removes toxins from the body, boosting immunity
  • improves digestion
  • has been used to treat respiratory issues
  • boosts skin health
  • addresses cellulite
  • removes Qi (“chi”) stagnation

Who can receive cupping treatment?

Cupping is appropriate for individuals who are active, healthy, and suffer from chronic pain, muscle tension, and other minor ailments. This treatment approach is NOT recommended to individuals with compromised or weak immune systems, significant health deficiencies, or serious debilitating disease or illness.

Side effects

The most common side effects are muscle soreness and minor bruising. The bruising is caused by the suction of the cup as it brings blood to the most superficial layers of the tissue. While the bruising may appear to be alarming, it is an indication that the treatment was performed correctly, and the vacuum was created within the cups. The bruises can last anywhere from 2 to 7 days. Ice and topical anti-inflammatory creams may be applied following treatment, if desired.

If you think you may be a good candidate for cupping and are interested in receiving treatment, Dr. Robin and Dr. Arpin are now offering this service in conjunction with chiropractic care. Please call 860-412-9016 to schedule a chiropractic examination.

*NOTE: Patients must be at least 18 years old to receive cupping treatment.


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