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5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Cupping Therapy

cupping therapy

When you think about alternative medicinal therapies, a few things probably come to mind first. Acupuncture, deep tissue massage and stone massage, to name a few. In recent years, cupping therapy has grown in popularity and has become the topic of scholarly research to further understand its benefits. It might look a little strange in pictures, but spas around the world are utilizing this ancient technique in deep tissues massage to offer another level of service to their patrons. This time-tested technique draws out congested blood, restores the body’s natural energy flow and draws out bad humors through the surface of the skin.

Before you make a decision about what type of spa treatment might be right for you, here are 5 things you might not already know about cupping! 

  1. Cupping therapy dates back to 1,550 B.C.

Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures used this technique using cups made from a variety of materials such as glass, bamboo or earthenware to help with pain management, inflammation and blood flow. In the 1950s, Chinese hospitals adopted cupping as an official therapeutic practice and in more recent years, celebrities and athletes such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Phelps have praised the technique and helped raise public awareness of its benefits. 

  1. Not all techniques are the same!

There are both wet and dry techniques used in this type of massage therapy. In both, the massage therapist sets a flammable substance on fire inside the cup (it might be alcohol, herbs or paper) and then places the cup upside down on the skin once the fire goes out. This creates a vacuum as the air cools, which expands the blood vessels in the skin. The cup is left there for about 3 minutes. 

In wet cupping, the cup is removed and the therapist makes small cuts with a scalpel on the reddened skin and then draws out small quantities of blood during a second cupping. Therapists believe that this method removes harmful toxins from the body and promotes healing. 

Dry cupping simply uses the standard cupping method without the blood draw. Neither method is proven to be more effective than the other but there are believers in both!

  1. Cupping works well with other spa therapies!

Researchers specializing in cupping therapy have reviewed over 135 studies on the practice. They concluded that diseases such as Herpes Zoster, Acne, Facial Paralysis, Cervical Spondylosis and high blood pressure benefited from using cupping in conjunction with acupuncture and medication, according to WebMD

Frequently combined with acupuncture, these unique therapies can also target back and neck pain, muscle stiffness, anxiety and even cellulite. The amazing thing about these techniques is that they are not isolated to one area of the body. Cupping can be performed on legs, ankles or any other area of the body that is in need of treatment. The versatility of this technique along with the accuracy of acupuncture make them a powerful combination to help heal your body of all its ills. 

  1. There are no negative long-term side effects

Cupping is extremely safe, and our spa practices the highest quality care and sanitation. While there may be bruising or light scarring (related to the wet method) associated with treatments, patients can enjoy the benefits of this massage therapy without damaging their skin or muscles. 

  1. Cupping therapy is like a reverse-massage

Because the method of cupping involves using gentle suction to pull up on the tissue of the back, it brings up the top layer of superficial muscles. Massage oil can be used to help the cups move across the back, while maintaining the suction on the skin, which works the muscles in the opposite way that a traditional massage does.

Typically, a therapist kneads and works the muscles in a way that can be uncomfortable for some patrons. Massage therapy is not a one-size-fits-all practice. Our trained professionals can work with you to determine the best methods to achieve your desired result, and cupping is an ideal way to help those who might not benefit from a traditional massage technique. 


We at Qi Massage & Natural Healing Spa know how important your the balance between mind and body are as you navigate through your busy daily life. You don’t have to take our word for it to see the benefit of cupping for yourself! 

Book an appointment today and let our trained therapists guide you through ancient practices that will help you improve your health and calm your mind. If cupping does not sound like the right fit for you, we also offer a range of other services designed to meet your needs. Deep tissue massage, detox practices and even sports massage will ensure that you are at your best for everything life can throw at you! Come and let us help, or make us the best gift you ever gave to a loved one!

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