What Is Cupping Therapy?


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Ellie Dukes

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“Where there’s stagnation, there will be pain. Remove the stagnation, and you remove the pain.” ~ Chinese Proverb

CUPPING THERAPY is an ancient practice that spans both East and West. In the East, the Chinese have been practicing the art of cupping for at least three thousand years. The ancient Greeks, Romans, through the Alexandrians and Byzantines, cupping therapy was passed on to the Muslim Arabs and Persians (modern Iran). The Prophet Mohammed even approved and permitted the use of Hijama cupping therapy.

The old Chinese wisdom implies that pain results from congestion, stagnation, Qi blockage, vital energy, vital fluids, lymph, phlegm, and blood. If pain is the element of disease, then suffering is a result of the inconsistent flow in our body. Cupping is, therefore, a way of breaking up the blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of energy.

Cupping relieves tired, sore, and overworked muscles, perfect for ridding the body of acute pain. Even better for people who need to add more to their chronic pain management regimen. Immediate stress relief will be experienced.

Is Cupping Safe?

Cupping is safe when done by a trained professional on people who are generally healthy.

Keep in mind: The Cups may leave “cup kisses” on your skin that can last from a day to a week depending on your circulations—so if that’s not something you’re interested in, ask your therapist to do gliding cupping to minimize the redness. The marks’ color will vary with each person; it does not imply how well cupping will work for your body. I do my best not to overwhelm the area by leaving them stagnant for too long.

There is a common misconception that cupping can cause bruising. However, the marks left by cupping are not bruises. Bruising is caused by impact trauma leading to breakage of capillaries and a reactionary rush of fluids to the tissue injury’s damaged location. There is no compression in cup therapy, only negative pressure (suction, not compression).

One of the ways I personally describe what cupping feels like is deep tissue, the opposite say. If the cups’ suction feels too tight or pinchy, your therapist can adjust the pressure. It does not have to hurt at all; you don’t have to be a suck it up for it to work. The work results depend on the skill set of the therapist using the tools (Cups).

The Takeaway

Cupping is a tool used in your treatment plan to help with fascia pain and fluid stagnation. Even though Cupping Therapy may appear to be painful for some people, it is not. In short: Cupping will not do any severe damage or add to your injuries—and hey, it most likely will help that back pain that’s been bothering you for weeks, so give it a try.

Disclaimer: At Trinity Massage Haven LLC, Ellie Dukes LMT practices DRY CUPPING. The Massage Therapy State Board of Pennsylvania approves dry Cupping.


Are you searching for a Licensed Massage Therapist who knows the ins and outs of stress and how to relieve it with Cupping Therapy? Look no further! I’m Ellie Dukes, LMT -specializing in prenatal and oncology massage therapy for 12 years. However, I offer an array of massage services that can help combat stress and injuries. Visit me at Trinity Massage Haven in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

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