Fire cupping is an ancient therapeutic method brought into modern times. The benefits of cupping are the restoration of proper blood flow, reduction of toxins from the body, and decrease in pain from muscle spasm. Historically, several cultures have used cupping for emotional release as well as physical pain relief. Traditionally, animal horns were used with fire. Today, glass fire cups are made in many sizes and can be used in the clinic. Some practioners use suction cups and have not been appropriately trained to use nor remove the cup safely. If a cup is not skillfully removed in proper fashion or if too much suction from non-fire cupping is employed, this will forcefully break the blood vessels and that is NOT the goal of cupping. If a practioner does not know the proper areas to cup and the appropriate goals for cupping, unnecessary injury can take place. Please ask ANY practioner about their training before seeking this therapy to avoid unnecessary tissue trauma and wrong treatment.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) cupping is a suction method designed to pull toxin¬†build up and blood stagnation from the body’s deeper tissue to the surface of the skin. The cells of the body use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide: when the energy is blocked, the cell waste or carbon dioxide gets blocked and the circulation of blood is impaired. Physical pain shows a blockage in the flow of energy (Qi). Once the toxins are pulled to the surface, the body is assisted in eliminating these toxins so proper blood flow ensues. To an acupuncturist, cupping can be diagnostic as well as therapeutic. Using cupping, an acupuncturist can locate where the problem is. By the color of the skin under the cup, a therapist can tell the severity of an issue and/or the type of issue or injury. This visual information helps an acupuncturist not only treat the patient but make an accurate assessment of their condition.

Cupping is so effective at moving toxins in the body that cupping is also used for issues related to phlegm congestion/blood stagnation in the lungs and is an excellent relief of cough and breathing difficulties from bronchitis, allergies, pneumonia, and smoking. Please seek an licensed acupuncturist for this type of internal medicine treatment.

Cupping should not be used in lieu of appropriate medical treatment for lung infections and breathing difficulties. Please consult a physician for medical care first. Did Michael Phelps just make cupping a legitimate thing?

Institute for Traditional Medicine White Paper on Cupping


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