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What is cupping? What are it’s benefits?

cuppingSince the Olympics have come and gone, there was some question as to why there were very distinct circular bruises on some athletes. The explanation as some readers already know is from cupping therapy.

Cupping therapy has roots in traditional Chinese medicine. The primary goals of this technique is to reduce pain, improve range of motion, alleviate muscular “tightness’ or “stiffness”, improve blood flow, and induce a relaxation effect. These are achieved through creating a vacuum at the surface of the skin by using a cup and negative pressure to produce a suction force.

Some drawbacks from using cupping include redness, bruising, and it can subjectively feel painful during the process (i.e. depending on the severity of injury, the area that is being treated, amount of suction created, and pain tolerance). However, there are improvements in overall pain and range of motion with the use of cupping that are observed clinically.

One important to note is that cupping in Westernized medicine is considered to be a form of alternative therapy. Given this, the empirical data that supports the use of cupping is not as strong as other treatment options. However, it is equally important to note that physiotherapists consider the individual needs of each patient to determine which treatment options would be most viable; cupping is one part of an entire toolkit that can be utilized to address pain, lack of range of motion, muscular weakness, or any other issue that requires attention.

By: Chris Dahiroc P.T.


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