cupping traditional Chinese medicine

Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is becoming more popular and mainstream. You may have even seen a massage therapist utilize it, but cupping is actually part of the traditional Chinese medical system. In this practice, Dr. Gaffney uses fire cupping with glass cups, which gives the best results.

How does cupping work?

  • Fire that is quickly placed inside the cup sucks out the oxygen and the cup is quickly placed on the skin, this creates a suction of the tissues into the cup
  • This creates a unique negative pressure effect
  • The cup creates a bruise which triggers local increased blood circulation, muscle oxygenation, and tissue healing

What conditions does cupping help with?

  • Cupping is best for muscle tension and pain especially when on the back because the cups stick best to a wide flat surface, however if your practitioner uses small enough cups, you could ideally treat most major muscles throughout the body
  • When placed over the lungs, cupping can help treat respiratory issues such as asthma, cough, and allergies by helping to detox those tissues

What to expect?

  • Cups are placed on skin, it will feel like a tight suction or pressure on the skin, it should be comfortable
  • The cups can be moved around or left in place, typically for about 20 minutes
  • After they are removed, there will be circular bruises that can vary in darkness
  • The bruising can last anywhere from a few hours to about a week

What does the bruising mean?

  • Dark bruises mean there was a lot of blood stagnation there
  • Light bruises can either mean blood deficiency or normal healthy tissue with good circulation

Who should avoid or decline cupping therapy?

  • Those with a bleeding disorder or those on anti-coagulant or blood thinning medication
  • Those with thin skin that easily tears
  • No cupping should be done over skin that is irritated, infected, cut, cracked etc.

Is cupping safe?

  • Fire cupping is very safe when used conservatively by a properly trained practitioner
  • The glass cups are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to prevent infection
  • Bruising is the desired positive effect of treatment

If you would like to experience cupping, feel free to schedule online with Dr. Katie Gaffney, OMD, LAc through the “connect” tab.