What is the deal with Cupping?  Tao to Wellness, Berkeley CA

What is the deal with Cupping ?  Ever since Michael Phelps proudly showed his red and purple dots all over his body, we have gotten a ton of calls at Tao to Wellness asking if we do this ancient practice.

Yes, we do it!

And yes, it’s awesome.

Patients get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.

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There are different methods of cupping, including: Dry and Wet.

During both types of cupping, your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he puts the cup upside down on your skin.

As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes.

A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.

Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for about 3 minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.  Unfortunately, this ancient practice is now illegal in California, there is just too much risk with blood borne pathogens, infection and acupuncturists using ‘dirty cups’, so we do not offer this service at Tao to Wellness.  That being said, Dry cupping is more than enough for most issues or in conjunction with acupuncture.

You might get 3-5 cups in your first session. Or you might just try one to see how it goes. It’s rare to get more than 5-7 cups.

You may be left with strange alien like dots that range from pink to sometimes even black, but the health benefits outweigh the temporary fashion statement.

Come in to Tao to Wellness for some cupping—at just $60 a session or used in conjunction with Acupuncture ($95 for both) it is an amazing tool that can heal that body from inflammation, stress, congestion or just used for relaxation.


Christina Martin, L.Ac., DIPL.AC, ABORM, MTOM

Tao to Wellness

809 Hearst Ave

Berkeley, CA 94710



Excerpts from http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/cupping-therapy?page=2