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  • Writer's pictureEartha Armstrong, L.Ac.

What is Fire Cupping?

Some of you have already felt the amazing effects of cupping. Like an inverted deep tissue massage, the suction of the cup dredges up stagnant blood and waste from inside the muscles and helps move it out of the body. This ancient healing technique has been made famous more recently by Olympic athlete, Michael Phelps, and stars such as Gwyenneth Paltrow and Lady Gaga.

But what is cupping and what is it good for?

There is an ancient Chinese saying that where there is stagnation there is pain and where there is free flow there is no pain. On this tenet cupping helps break up areas of blockage and create a harmonious flow of blood and lymph.

Recent research has shown cupping has many different beneficial effects, including:

  • promoting blood circulation

  • warming the channels to remove cold

  • relieves swelling

  • accelerates healing

  • adjusting body temperature

  • alleviates symptoms of fibromyalgia

  • treatment of stroke rehabilitation, hypertension, headaches, migraine, herpes zoster

  • great at alleviating pain, including chronic neck, shoulder and low back pain.

Cupping causes vasodilatation and stimulates blood circulation to increase metabolism and accelerate the elimination of waste and toxins from the body. This effect acts to improve physical function and affect blood pressure. (Lee-Mei Chi et al, p3)

Cupping is most often done with the glass cups that are put onto the skin with a suction and left from 3-15 minutes. We can also apply oil to the skin and the cups are moved along the fibers of the muscle for a deep, relaxing massage or against the fibers of the muscle if there are adhesion's or scar tissue causing pain.

Cupping will leave some petechiae (purple or red) marks on the skin that looks like a bruise (but does not hurt like a bruise) that usually goes away in 1-10 days. There are very little side effects to cupping, but you may feel a little tired afterwards and it’s helpful to rest and drink lots of water to move the toxins out of the body quickly.

At Mulberry Acupuncture and Wellness cupping is used to treat many conditions including: fibromyalgia, fertility and gynecological disorders, high blood pressure, migraines, anxiety and depression and we have a lot of success using cupping to help relieve pain, and for sports recovery.

This blog and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on this blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 


Chi, Lee-Mei, et al. “The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2016,

Ratini, Melinda. “What Is Cupping Therapy? Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More.” WebMD, WebMD, 2 Oct. 2018,


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