What is cupping theory and how it can help your body heal?

We often feel the need to keep our body in good shape after it has been stressed out. The stress experienced can result from overworking ourselves, which causes our body to ache or cause us pain. One of the best practices to relieve this pain is through massage.

A type of massage that helps reduce pain increase blood flow and enhance the well-being of the body is known as cupping.

What is cupping?

Cupping is a therapy administered as a form of substitute medicine, and it involves the creation of suction by placing cups on the skin. The suction force helps pull blood into the skin, which facilitates blood flow in the body.

Cupping dates back to ancient times. The Middle Eastern and Chinese people use cupping as a form of medicine to treat pneumonia and bronchitis. Cupping helps to clean pores and release toxins from the body through the creation of suction.

The suction force draws fluid into the cupped area and, at the same time, breaks and expands the capillaries under the skin. The body system treats the cupped area like an injury, transporting more blood to the area to quicken the natural healing process.

The cups used for this therapy include horn, ceramic, metal, bamboo, silicone, plastic, and glass, the most common cup used.

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Client With Suction Cup Process (1)

Methods of cupping

Cupping is carried out using two methods, namely;

  • The wet method: this involves controlled medicinal bleeding and suction.
  • The dry method: this method involves only the suction.

The two methods would require your therapist’s setting the cups to be used on the fire. This is done by putting flammable substances like; herbs, alcohol, or paper in a cup before setting it on fire. The therapist would allow the fire to go out and then place the cup upside down on your skin.

The cup lasts on the skin for about three minutes. As the air inside the cup cools, a vacuum is created. This action causes the skin to redden and rise and also expands the blood vessels. The choice of the cupping method depends on your medical condition, your preference, or that of your therapist.

Conditions that can be treated using cupping therapy

Cupping is commonly used to ease conditions that create muscle pain and aches. But because of the possibility of applying the cup to major acupressure points, cupping is said to be effective also in treating other health conditions. These conditions might include; skin problems and digestive issues.

According to research, cupping may also help to solve the following condition: facial paralysis, acne, cervical spondylosis, shingles, and so on.

Close Up Hand Holding Cup (1)

Benefits of cupping

Some of the benefits of cupping are listed below;

  • It is used to rejuvenate the body organs.
  • The treatment enhances the healing process and strengthens the immune system.
  • It is used for deep tissue massage, relaxation of the muscles, and total well-being of the body.
  • Cupping helps to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • The treatment improves the flow of blood in the body.
  • Cupping is used to treat blood disorders such as hemophilia and anemia.
  • It is also used to cure skin problems like acne and eczema.
  • Cupping can also be used to treat high blood pressure.

The effect of cupping on some areas of the body


  • The joints: cupping helps to increase the blood flow and secretion of synovial fluid.
  • Skin: cupping helps to improve skin tissue metabolism and resistance. It also improves healing and better functioning of the sebaceous and sweat glands.
  • Nervous system: cupping stimulates the sensory nerves of the skin and also improves the autonomic nervous system.
  • Digestive system: cupping increases the secretion of digestive fluids and peristalsis hence aiding better digestion and excretion.
  • Muscles: cupping helps to stimulate lymphatic drainage and blood flow.
  • Blood: cupping improves the functioning of the white and red blood cells.
Suction Cups Therapy Session Close Up (1)

Side effects of cupping

Though cupping is a low-risk therapy, some side effects may occur during or after your treatment. The side effects may include:

  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Burns from heated cups.
  • Nausea.
  • Skin infections, itching, bruising.
  • Muscle tension or soreness.

Can you learn cupping at home?

Yes, you can learn cupping at home. It is fondly called DIY cupping or At-home cupping. All you have to do is purchase the At-home cupping kits, which allow you to also benefit from the incredible wellness that cupping provides. Clean, naturally formulated, and powerful aromatherapy oils also come with the kit.

Below are some of the pro tips for starting out cupping at home;

  • Know how to guide the cups. Use your hand or fingers to guide the cup in the direction you want it to go.
  • Use the mitt before or after your cupping treatment to give more results. A mitt aids exfoliation, increases circulation, and also helps to remove any excess oil from your skin.
  • Gaining a general sense of direction. Understanding the proper direction of strokes is important to ensure you are aiding detoxing and not hindering it.
  • Get familiar with your cups. This helps you to know the soft cup as it is the ideal cup for starting.

How long is a cupping course?                                          

The average length of study for a cupping course is at least 3 hours of class, covering many topics in this field. Depending on the study institution, instructions undertaken can take place for a whole day or several days.

For those seeking certification in this field from a school, this training might last for two days or even more if it requires your physical presence. A diploma program in this course could last for up to 1-2 years.

Do you need to be certified to do cupping?

Like most massage therapies, a certificate is not a prerequisite to practice in this field. Though you can get a certificate, it would serve as an added advantage as it will add value to your work. This is because the certificate would convince your clients of your competence in the field.

Even though a specialty certification is not required to practice cupping, it is essential to have a license that allows you to put your hands on your client.

Who can learn to cupping?


If you are interested in learning this cupping, the minimum qualification you require is a 10th or 12th passed or equivalent to get a certificate from a recognized board. Medical professionals can also pursue cupping therapy courses to learn ancient techniques.


Cupping therapy provides a host number of benefits. These benefits cut across areas such as beauty and health. Cupping has been a long-practiced form of massage that helps ease symptoms of chronic and temporary health conditions.

Though cupping has been researched to treat many health issues effectively, it is advisable to use it as a complementary treatment and not a substitute for doctor’s visits.

About The Author

Daren Nadav

Daren Nadav

Daren Nadav is the Co Founder of CourseForMe, which is a leading platform to find the best courses available online and delivers inspiring content related to eLearning. Daren holds a B.A in Economics and business management.

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