Cupping therapy: The power of cupping (Benefits)

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Article reviewed and approved by Dr. Ibtissama Boukas, physician specializing in family medicine 

Have you ever seen round traces of lilac mauve color on the bodies of athletes during the Olympic Games? Some athletes even promote it, and swear by the irrefutable effectiveness of suction cups.

Adored by athletes, cupping therapy is becoming more and more fashionable. Trend ? or proven treatment? Through this article, we will check and see together if the praise attributed to it is without pitfalls and deserved.



Cupping therapy, commonly known as cupping therapy is a treatment method. It consists of placing suction cups on specific points of the skin and creating suction via negative pressure put in the bell.

There are two main types of methods for the use of cupping within cupping therapy ; wet cupping, which is invasive, and dry cupping, which is non-invasive.

For wet cupping, the surface of the skin is nicked so that blood is drawn into the cup. While the dry suction cup is applied in direct contact on the skin and without laceration of the epidermis.

A little bit of history

Before continuing our investigation, let us look at these origins. Do you know how long cupping has existed? It goes back to distant lands, antiquity! Our ancestors therefore used it for centuries and centuries.

At the time, the therapeutic goal of this practice was to proceed with the extraction of the evil, to take it out of the body, to give a boost to the blood circulation and thus to restore balance and energy in the whole of the body. body.

Suction cups are therefore ancestral tools. They have been an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine for ages.

In the past, suction cups were made from raw materials such as animal horns, bamboo, metal, terracotta, etc. With the evolution, the materials for the manufacture of suction cups have changed, favoring glass and plastic.

Classically, in the shape of a vault or bell, they are currently used to treat many conditions that we will discover later.

They come in all sizes, and their use varies depending on the area and can be applied to small areas (such as the carpal tunnel in the wrist) or larger areas of our body (such as the back).


cupping therapy has a wide field of application. The most common cupping is done on the thoracolumbar spine.

The most common indications are as follows: muscle pain such as low back pain, neck pain, brachialgia.

For awakening and stimulation of muscles following facial paralysis, certain lung diseases, digestive disorders. But also, tendinitis, sprains and even sleep disorders, stress, headaches.

Indication also for so-called systemic pathologies, such as rheumatoid arthritis

Of course, this is a non-exhaustive listing given the extent of the existing panel. Is it this particularity which determines the praise in favor of the cupping therapy?




There are absolute contraindications, which must be respected under penalty of putting the patient in danger. And on the other hand, the relative contraindications, which are to be discussed and assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Remember, the application of cupping causes aspiration of the skin by suction effect; blood vessels and surrounding soft tissues are also sucked in, hence the purple mark left on the skin.

Therefore, it is generally forbidden to apply suction cups if you suffer from serious circulation disorders as well as impaired coagulation.

Proscription on the population of young children, and the elderly.

Persons with a pacemaker, suffering from renal or hepatic insufficiency, cancers are exempt from the cupping therapy because there is no robust proof of their total innocence on these pathologies.


Do not apply directly to arteries, veins (particularly and especially on varicose veins) and nerves, lesions in the skin, and in the lymph nodes.

The contraindications to cupping therapy are not negligible, make sure you have the approval of a therapist in order to avoid aggravating your situation.





cupping therapy helps improve blood circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system, promote relaxation and muscle recovery.

Through the suction effect, there are impulses that travel and enter the brain via the afferent pathways and in response, a decrease in the sensitivity of the nervous system is given.

Remember, cupping is usually applied to specific acupuncture points corresponding to our organs.

Therefore, in addition to their local effect, they could consent to the restoration of the body's energy balance by indirectly reaching the organs.

Now, what do the studies say on the subject?

Scientific evidence for cupping therapy?


Although interest in cupping has revived, scientific studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this practice are not really numerous. There is clearly a lack of convincing and quality clinical trials with standardized application protocols.

That said, this in no way takes away the fact that cupping therapy is a promising alternative treatment. Moreover, a high-level study showed that there was a significant reduction in pain. However, it has biases. Placebo effect? Real effect? Future studies can only give us more information.


Personal opinion


In my opinion, cupping therapy may have its place in a treatment plan, but on the other hand as an adjuvant (i.e. as a complement). It must therefore be combined to increase – or even maximize – the effects of a basic treatment.

This supplement must be under the control of a therapist given the many contraindications that result from it. Of course, a therapist with a good anatomical knowledge is preferable in order to maximize the desired effects and above all to avoid the complications linked to the misuse of suction cups.

All the more, remember the pose is not done randomly there are very specific areas.




Although there is no sufficiently conclusive scientific evidence pointing to cupping therapy, this one is in fashion and is currently attracting more and more people.

This natural therapy (like acupuncture to relieve pain) is now one of the alternatives available to sufferers.

Remember, however, that there is no practice without risk. As we have seen earlier in the article, cupping therapy has contraindications. It is therefore important to have the approval of a health professional who is also competent in the field.

cupping therapy is one of the promising alternative treatments and will undoubtedly survive centuries and centuries.

Good recovery !

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