Many of our favourite celebrities and athletes receive regular cupping treatments but just what is this treatment about and how can it benefit us? We talk to Kevin Durjun at the British Acupuncture Council to find out.

What is cupping?

Cupping is a therapeutic treatment that involves applying pressurised cups to the surface of the body. It is a form of traditional medicine that has been tried and tested for thousands of years. It is often used alongside traditional acupuncture as practiced by members of the British Acupuncture Council.

In recent years cupping has been under the spotlight on several occasions – You might remember seeing photos of athletes at last year’s Olympic Games with circular “Bruises” on them – they had received cupping treatment. Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Bieber and Victoria Beckham have all been pictured with what looks like cupping marks.


Image by Ben Cumming on Flickr

How does it work?

According to Chinese medical theories, pain or becoming unwell is the result of energy becoming stuck or trapped.  Traditional acupuncture and cupping work to release this stuck energy,  an example of which can be  seen as tight muscles, to encourage the smooth flow of energy around the body and in doing so, rebalance its equilibrium and good health.

Once the acupuncturist has identified the site of the blockage they apply the pressurised cups to the areas of the body that require treatment. Traditionally the cupping technique involved lighting a flammable liquid, but nowadays practitioners tend to use a sterile alcohol soaked wipe instead. The flame draws the air out of a round glass cup, causing a suction effect. The cup then sticks to the body as a result of this suction effect. Many practitioners now use a hand pump with a plastic cup to create the cupping effect – the benefit of this is that they can better control the pressure being applied to the affected area.

The cups can help by taking the tension out of muscle. They release stuck energy and help to clear stagnation.

Why should we consider having cupping treatments

The Olympic athletes used cupping to help their muscles recover from their strenuous training regimes. The suction effect brings blood, fluid and oxygen to the areas that need additional help to recover.

But you don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from cupping – it is an effective and pain free treatment for many people, although pregnant women and people with high blood pressure should speak with their doctor before trying this treatment.

Cupping is a marvellous treatment to release stress from the body; it can be a highly effective in helping with the following:

  • Muscular repair
  • Clearing the stagnation that can make us feel down
  • Relieve physical aches and pains
  • Can be used as an alternative to acupuncture needles in some conditions
  • Helpful for asthmatics or for those with breathing problems
  • Great cure for headaches
  • Effective at preventing cold symptoms from developing into full blown cold

For more information about Cupping and to find a qualified member of the British Acupuncture Council, please visit the British Acupuncture Council Website

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