Cupping at Be Well Acupuncture

Cupping, often used in conjunction with acupuncture, is a term applied to a technique that uses small cups that create a vacuum when placed on the skin.  The suction causes the skin, fascia, and superficial muscle layer to be manipulated and worked through to help loosen the tight area. When describing the benefits of cupping to patients I commonly refer to it as a reverse deep tissue massage, instead of pushing on the muscles and fascia to loosen the area, the cups pull on the muscles and fascia to loosen the area.  The negative pressure also promotes blood and circulation to the area helping it heal faster.  Most people like the cupping sensation, if a patient is more sensitive the cups can be controlled at a lower level of negative pressure.  Most commonly the neck and back are treated with cupping and it helps alleviate stiffness, soft tissue injury, pain, tension, headaches, and migraines.  It is important that patients are aware that cupping may leave marks that last 7-10 days, usually the tighter the muscle the darker the mark.  These marks are not permanent and do not hurt, although they resemble a bruise.

Not Everyone Is A Candidate For Cupping:

If you are on blood thinners, anemic, bruise easily, are very thin, have muscle atrophy, have weakness, get dizzy or faint easily cupping is not the best treatment for you. Talk to your acupuncturist to see if cupping can be incorporated into your treatments.


  • Drink Lots of Water
  • Keep Covered
  • Avoid exposure to cold air/water/temperature (NO ICE)
  • Redness, swelling, and itchiness is normal and will disappear soon after. Do not scratch at marks- it is part of the healing process. Moisturizing the area will help with itchiness (coconut oil/unscented lotion)
  • Marks will become less and less discolored the more cupping you do

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long will the marks last?

Typically, cupping marks last 5-10 days, depending on how dark they get.

Do the cups hurt?

No! While it is normal to feel pressure, the cupping sensation can be compared to that of a sunburn.  Many patients describe the feeling as good.  When the cups are removed patients often describe their muscle tension feeling much looser.

Can I get cupping if I am on blood thinners?

It is not ideal for patients on blood thinners.

Can kids get cupping?

Yes! Many young athletes enjoy cups to help them with their sports injuries and tension.  It is also great for children with asthma.

What’s with the fire?

While fire cupping can be done to create a suction vacuum with the cup, in the office we use pump cups.  Pump cups allow for more control with strength and intensity.

Does cupping help with migraines?

Yes! If you are suffering from frequent headaches or migraines mention it at your next session so we can incorporate cups.

Is cupping included in acupuncture treatments at Be Well?

Yes, when appropriate, the acupuncturist will include cupping in your treatment at no additional cost.