The Benefits of Cupping

Anna Kim, TCMP

Edited by Dr. Kimberly Huynh, DC

April 26, 2023 · 5 min

Cupping has become increasingly popular during the 2016 Summer Olympics when Michael Phelps showed up to competition with multiple round marks on his back. With its rising popularity in North America, cupping has been around for thousands of years in Chinese and Egyptian medicine. Cupping has many health benefits and can be combined with acupuncture, massage, and other alternative therapies.

What is Cupping?

Cupping therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment to alleviate many conditions. With the combination of acupuncture, the effects are cumulative and effective to promote natural healing.

Types of cupping methods include

• Dry cupping
• Deep tissue massage cupping
• Wet cupping (i.e. blood-letting cupping to eliminate congestion)
• Fire cupping (i.e. recommended for patients who are sensitive to cold weather)


Benefits of Cupping

1. Relieve muscle and joint pain.
Cups are placed in the affected area to draw out the embedded inflammation, and increase circulation, and suppleness of all soft tissues affecting the joint. Cupping also creates a sense of openness or expansion in the compressed area. In addition, the range of motion is often improved.

2. Improves circulation.
Stimulating blood flow helps eliminate toxins and waste in the affected area. It also enhances the immune system hence increasing the natural healing powers. Cupping also helps improve various circulation disorders.

3. Promote lymphatic drainage
Cupping helps enhance the natural drainage process. It helps release toxins and waste to the lymphatic system.

4. Helps with depression, anxiety, and/or stress.
The build-up of toxins in the body closely correlates to negative feelings and emotions that can contribute to depression, anxiety, and/or stress. Cupping can help the body to release them to the circulating lymph to promote a sense of ease from negative emotions.

5. Promoting digestion and improving bowel movements.
Paired with acupuncture, cupping supports digestion by regulating the autonomic nervous system. Gentle cupping over the abdomen help stimulate the digestive organs and aids in peristalsis, helps clear colon blockages, and increases blood and body fluids movement throughout.

6. Decrease headaches and migraines.
From decreasing muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back to downregulating the nervous system, cupping promotes relaxation and calmness which can help with headaches and migraines.

7. Promote better sleeping.

Cupping helps bring a sense of relaxation. Surrounding soft tissues are relaxed as they are flooded with healing nutrients and fresh oxygen. The relaxation effect is also extended to the nervous system which calms down with cupping.


Cupping Contraindication

When administered by a registered therapist, cupping is fairly safe.

Cupping is not recommended for individuals who have:

• Active skin infection (i.e. shingles/ herpes zoster)
• Open cuts, wounds, or burns
• Bone fractures
• Sites of deep vein thrombosis
• Blood disorders (i.e. hemophilia)
• Connective tissue disorders (i.e. Marfan’s syndrome)


Cupping therapy has many benefits. It can be done complimentary to your acupuncture treatments. Start your healing journey now. To book with our amazing acupuncturist, give us a call at (604) 496-0626, email at, or book online at