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What is cupping therapy? Type, Benefits, and More



What is cupping therapy? Type, Benefits, and More



Cupping is a unique non-drug treatment method that brings certain benefits. So what is cupping, and what effects does the cupping method have?



1. What is cupping therapy?


Cupping is a treatment method originating from China, also known as cupping massage and suction cup therapy. The mechanism of cupping is to use specialized cups to place on your skin. The purpose is to create negative pressure in these cups and cause local blood vessel congestion, helping to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, detoxify, or prevent and treat some diseases.


Cupping is a treatment method that brings certain benefits

Cupping is a treatment method that brings certain benefits


2. Cupping benefits


2.1. Pain relief 


Research in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine has shown some evidence that the effects of cupping have the potential to effectively reduce muscle pain. A meta-analysis published in the US National Library of Medicine found that this method is effective in treating back pain. Research in the journal BMJ Open reached a similar conclusion about the effectiveness of cupping in treating neck pain. 


According to traditional medicine, cupping helps clear the meridians, activates blood stasis, and dissolves clogged meridians, thereby reducing pain. 


According to modern medicine, the vacuum environment inside the cup helps tissues expand locally, which creates conditions for blood vessels to expand and increase blood flow to pathological tissues. This speeds up the oxygen supply process, increases cell metabolism, helps fight inflammation, and reduces pain effectively.


In addition, many studies have shown that cupping has the ability to reduce headaches and migraines.


The effectiveness of cupping in treating pain

The effectiveness of cupping in treating pain



2.2. Cupping therapy for acne


A research article in the journal PLoS One found that there is some evidence that cupping is effective in treating herpes and acne. However, more rigorous studies are needed to verify this. 



2.3. Detoxification 


The vacuum environment in the cupping tube pulls the skin up to the inside of the cupping tube, which has the effect of dilating the pores on the skin. This helps stimulate blood flow, balance and regulate the flow of qi, and break down obstructions, thereby promoting the body's detoxification process. 


The effects of cupping have the potential to help detoxify the skin and circulatory system by eliminating toxins and improving blood flow through the veins and arteries. This brings many benefits to athletes by reducing muscle spasms.


Cupping helps detoxify the skin and circulatory system

Cupping helps detoxify the skin and circulatory system


>>> See more: TOP 10 best massages in Da Nang Vietnam that you must try in 2024



3. How does cupping work?


The suction from the cups will break the capillaries under your skin. This helps promote the flow of life force in the body, dispersing and breaking up stasis by draining blood, energy, and other blockages. This means cupping will help absorb toxins and release them from your body. Thanks to that, it helps reduce pain and relax muscle tissue. Explaining this according to traditional Chinese medicine means: Where there is blockage, there is pain; resolving the blockage will relieve the pain.



4. Types of cupping therapy


There are three cupping methods used for treatment. Each method has some differences in technique and implementation steps.


  • “Dry” cupping: This is a method performed by heating a fire stick inside a cup, burning alcohol, herbs, or paper. After the fire goes out, the therapist will place the cup against your skin. When the air inside cools, it will create negative pressure to pull the skin inside the cup. The skin may then turn red as blood vessels react to the change in pressure.


Dry cupping or hot cupping uses the heat of fire in the cup

Dry cupping or hot cupping uses the heat of fire in the cup


  • “Air” cupping: This method will replace using a flame to burn. The cup is applied to the skin, and the air in the cup is sucked in with a specialized pump to create a vacuum. This method overcomes the risk of burns caused by fire compared to the traditional "dry" cupping method.


  • Wet therapy: Before placing the cup on your skin, the therapist will use a needle to prick your skin. After the cup is applied to the skin and the skin is suctioned, a small amount of blood may ooze from the site. This helps remove toxins from the body. 


For "dry" cupping and "air" cupping, the cup is placed on the skin for a certain period of time, usually 5–10 minutes. For the wet therapy method, you just need to put it in for a few minutes and then take it out, then use a needle and then a cup to draw blood.


Next, you will be given ointment and bandages to help prevent a possible infection. Wet cupping often causes mild bruising or other symptoms such as aches and pains, but don't worry too much because they will disappear on their own within 10 days. 



5. Types of cups


Cupping cups are made of many different materials. 


  • Glass cup: This is an easy-to-find and quite common cupping set. Thanks to the transparent material, you can see the level of blood stasis in the inner skin area, thereby identifying the condition so you can time it to remove or handle problems. However, glass cups are often fragile when dropped, which can cause injury to the user.


  • Bamboo cup: This cupping set is often found in spas or treatment centers and is made from round bamboo tubes. This type is quite compact, lightweight, and durable. However, because the material is bamboo, the level of blood stasis of the skin in the tube will not be observed.


  • Vacuum cup: This type is quite commonly used because it is easy to use at home and highly durable. This cupping set is made of transparent silicone, with a small hole on top to absorb air. You can easily adjust the pressure in the tube; the structure is compact, convenient to carry, and does not require a fire.


Vacuum cup is made of transparent silicone

Vacuum cup is made of transparent silicone



6. Tips when getting cupping therapy


For cupping to have a good effect, you need to pay attention to the following points:


  • Correct posture, correct location: Cupping should only be performed in locations with full muscles and a layer of fat under the skin. There is no sensation in areas with shallow blood vessels, areas where the heart beats, areas of skin that are too tender and have scars, areas of the eyes, nose, lips, nipples, and loose skin with many wrinkles. If there are still traces of the previous enlightenment place, do not enlighten there again.


  • Do not get cupping therapy outside if it is too cold or too hot. Absolutely not. Do not do this on the beach or in air-conditioned rooms.


  • It is necessary to choose the position that makes you most comfortable.


  • During the cupping process, both the patient and medical staff need to regularly monitor their health situation to take timely measures.


  • You need to prepare mentally. When there are signs of heat at the cupping site, such as tension or drowsiness, you need to talk with your therapist to stop anytime. If you see unusual phenomena, such as heat, dizziness, headache, etc., you need to notify your therapist for timely treatment to avoid complications. After cupping, you need to rest, not do strenuous activities, and not take a bath.


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7. Who shouldn’t get a cupping massage?


In the following cases, cupping should not be used for treatment because it can cause complications and even death. You shouldn’t get a cupping massage if you have any thoughts below.


  • Kidney and lung diseases cause anemia, subcutaneous bleeding, body edema, and platelet deficiency.
  • mental illness, neurasthenia, and frequent cramps.
  • Skinny, poor skin elasticity
  • Bleeding disorders like hemophilia.
  • Pregnancy
  • Fever, rash, delirium, and convulsions


The article has provided the necessary information about the benefits, types, and possible risks of cupping. Hopefully, this article has provided you with the most useful information. If you have any questions about cupping and massage, please contact Herbal Spa to receive advice and book a massage and cupping appointment with the most attractive offers.


With the attractive benefits of massage and Vietnamese cupping massage, it's great to enjoy them right on your vacation in the beautiful city of Da Nang. That certainly doesn't disappoint.





1. Does cupping hurt?


Cupping is not painful, although you may feel a tightening sensation during the procedure. After cupping therapy, you may feel some bruising and pain, but you should not feel undue discomfort. Your skin will have pinkish-red circular treatment marks, but they will fade after a week or two weeks.


2. What are the side effects of cup therapy?


  • Cupping can cause side effects such as persistent skin discoloration, scarring, burns, and infections, and can aggravate eczema or psoriasis. 


  • Rare cases of serious side effects have been reported, such as bleeding inside the skull (after scalp cupping) and anemia due to blood loss (wet therapy).


  • Cupping equipment can be contaminated with blood. Using the same cupping tube on multiple people, without sterilization between patients, can spread blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C.



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