Using cups to induce suction on the skin, cupping therapy is a kind of complementary treatment. It is believed that this suction would enhance the body’s energy flow and promote healing. According to TCM principles, using suction cups to generate a vacuum is said to enhance the flow of qi, the “life energy” that flows in our bodies.

The suction breaks microscopic blood vessels under the skin, causing the body to repair itself by increasing circulation and lymphatic movement and eliminating impurities.

Apart from being famous, what do Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps have in common? Cupping, a kind of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment, is popular among all four.

Cupping is said to enhance the flow of qi, the vital energy or “life force” that runs through our bodies according to TCM.

TCM practitioners believe that when our qi is interrupte or disturb, we might experience “blockages” or imbalances in the body. Cupping is use to eliminate these obstructions and restore the flow of this crucial energy.

How does cupping work?

According to Master Ruth Lee, a TCM practitioner with her own clinic in Hong Kong, a vacuum is first established within the cup, either by burning the oxygen inside a glass cup or sucking the air out of the top of a plastic cup.

The cup is swiftly put on certain acupuncture points on the patient’s skin, and the suction sucks the skin up into the cup.

The low pressure within the cup promotes the free movement of qi and blood throughout the body through meridians. This procedure aids in the elimination of pollutants and, eventually, restores bodily equilibrium. Cupping is considere less invasive by Lee.

The suction action bursts the microscopic blood vessels under the skin, causing minor discoloration. When the brain detects this little damage, it initiates the body’s self-healing process, resulting in increased blood circulation, enhanced lymphatic flow, and the discharge of accumulated fluid.

” When combined with acupuncture or tui na massage, cupping significantly increases the flow of IQ,” Lee explains. “Many physiotherapists and chiropractors include cupping treatment in their protocols, and even foot massage businesses now offer Slimming Massage Singapore service.”

Cupping Styles

According to Dr Troy Sing, a TCM practitioner at Health Wise Chinese Medicine Consultancy in area, The Best Cupping Therapy Singapore Service Provider there are numerous varieties of cupping.

Dry or fire cupping uses a flame to produce negative pressure within the cup. Which is then place on the skin for three to fifteen minutes. This is the most frequent form see in Chinese clinics.

To produce the vacuum nowadays, a portable pump may be utilize some practitioners also use silicon press cups.

The second form of cupping, known as wet or bleed cupping, consists of three steps: first, the practitioner generates a slight suction by leaving the cups on the skin for three minutes. The skin is then prick with a triangular-tipped needle or a plum blossom needle.

The cup is press to the skin a second time to extract a tiny amount of “toxic” blood.

Move or slide cupping is another method that includes the practitioner putting the cup to the skin before gently sliding it in one direction in a specified location.

“Other types include empty cupping. In which the cups are remove from the skin immediately after suction needle cupping, in which acupuncture is follow by the application of the cups over the needles medicinal or herbal cupping, in which bamboo cups that have been boile with herbs are use. And water cupping, in which a glass or bamboo cup is fille one-third full with warm water and then quickly applie to the skin,” Sing adds.

A quick look at the history of cupping

The Mawangdui Silk Texts, an old book written on silk that was unearthe in 1973 in an ancient tomb going back to China’s Han period, include the first accounts of cupping (202BC-220AD).

Cupping treatment may be trace back to early Jin dynasty doctor Ge Hong, a well-known herbalist and alchemist who flourish between 283 and 343AD.

According to Lee, the cups were construct of bull horn or bamboo back then, as opposed to the glass or plastic cups used nowadays.

These cups were use by practitioners to extract pus or poisons from their patients’ wounds. Suction was make by sucking the air out of the horn or boiling the bamboo cups.

Cupping became more commonly accessible following the Industrial Revolution, when glass and plastic cups were introduce.

What is the benefit of cupping?

Many individuals, according to Lee, utilize cupping on a daily basis as a muscle-relaxing therapy.

She claims that the therapy can help with a variety of issues, including:

Neck, shoulder, lower back, and leg pain;

The common cold, flu, or cough;

Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea and constipation;

Facial paralysis and stroke;Respiratory conditions like allergic rhinitis and asthma;

Skin diseases like eczema, acne, shingles, and hives;

Gynaecological issues like period pain

Cupping is not suitable for everyone. Pregnant women, children, the elderly, persons on blood-thinning medication. And anyone with specific health issues such as cancer, organ failure. Haemophilia, oedema, blood disorders, and certain forms of heart disease should avoid cupping, according to Sing.

Side effects and risks

Cupping is quite safe when performed by a qualified practitioner. According to Sing, the therapy often leaves suction marks, which dissolve within 24 hours in healthy people.

Stop the treatment immediately if you suffer any of the following adverse effects:


Dizziness or lightheadedness


Nausea or vomiting

Mild pain


Burns (if you underwent fire cupping)


Skin pigmentation changes

Skin infections (if you received wet cupping)

Cupping should also be avoided in locations where the skin is fractured, irritated, or inflamed, as well as over arteries, veins, or lymph nodes, as well as around the eyes, orifices, or fractures, according to Sing.

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