Cupping therapy has been around for many years and is based on ancient Chinese medicine. This modality is now used widely across the world as an adjunct to rehabilitation to facilitate healing and promote a healthy well being. At this time, there are limited controlled trials to support the benefits of cupping, yet people continue to use this modality. Many report experiencing significant subjective benefits after application which aids in their healing process. Cupping is used in a variety of rehabilitation settings to increase blood flow, loosen tight muscles, and sedate the nervous system.

Cupping works by placing a cup over the skin and using suction to remove air from the cup and creating a force to distract the skin from the fascial layer. This works to expand capillaries and improve fluid distribution in a localized area. Cupping is an excellent tool to increase capillary blood flow in areas of the body that are stagnant. An individual may experience subsequent bruising or soreness at the site, however, this will go away with time.

Cupping can aid in pain relief in individuals with joint pain by reducing soft tissue tightness, increasing blood flow, and facilitating increased joint mobility through the release of soft tissues. Many find this beneficial in the treatment of headaches, neck pain, and low back pain. Athletes are known to use cupping to release tight muscles, alleviate muscle cramps, reduce stiffness, and improve scar mobility.

This modality has been used for individuals with chronic pain and pain associated with cancer and arthritis. The benefits from improved myofascial mobility and increased blood flow are thought to facilitate healing and allow for improved mobility with these impairments.

Cupping is also used in the treatment of a variety of other health conditions including:

  • digestive issues
  • migraine and tension headaches
  • respiratory infections
  • water retention
  • anxiety and depression
  • the appearance of varicose veins
  • the appearance of cellulite
  • food allergies
  • high blood pressure

At John Goetze Physical Therapy, our therapists are trained in this technique as a stand-alone modality or as an adjunct to physical therapy treatment. Cupping is a great non-invasive technique to help alleviate pain and improve functional mobility. Contact us today at 904-280-2001 to schedule your cupping therapy session.

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017 Nov 6;30(6):1187-1195. doi: 10.3233/BMR-169736.
J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Oct;22(10):768-777. Epub 2016 Aug 24
J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2016 Jan;20(1):173-178. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.11.009. Epub 2015 Dec 1
Acupunct Med. 2013 Sep;31(3):336-7. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2013-010385. Epub 2013 Jul 25