What is cupping?

CuppingCupping is an integrative therapy that uses therapeutic cups to release muscle tissue and fascia (connective tissue), develop new blood flow, and encourage the body to release anti-inflammatory chemicals into the blood and muscles. It is also known as decompression therapy, which is often used by physical therapists, athletic trainers and exercise physiologists. Cupping has been found in ancient Chinese records dating back more than 3,500 years. Like acupuncture, gua sha, and reiki, cupping works to release blockages in blood flow and qi (pronounced “chee”), a Chinese philosophy of energy medicine that regulates spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance. This integrative therapy is applied to specific points on the body, as well as regions of the body affected by pain.

Cupping is mainly used to treat the following conditions:

  • Lymphatic drainage
  • Muscle pain
  • Respiratory conditions including the common cold, bronchitis and other conditions
  • Sports injuries

Cupping is very effective when practiced in addition to chiropractic care, massage therapy and gua sha.

Cupping is performed by our highly trained acupuncturists, and patients can receive cupping treatment during an acupuncture session by having cups placed over the needles. 

During your cupping visit: What to expect 

During a treatment session, our specialists place specialized cups on the body to create a small area of low pressure next to the skin, which creates a vacuum-like effect on the tissues in the treatment area. This vacuum pulls blood to the region to assist in circulation and stimulate healing. 

Cups are generally left on for five to 15 minutes, and may be moved from place to place over the skin (known as slide cupping) to produce an effect similar to a deep tissue massage. For easy movement, oil infused with herbal extracts that help reduce muscle pain and increase circulation is applied. 

Some patients may develop bruising after treatment as blood vessels expand in the treatment area after the cups are removed. These marks usually disappear after 3-5 days. Depending on your condition and wellness goals, how often you should receive cupping treatments will vary. Your cupping practitioner will help you determine what is right for you. 

Cupping sessions are $44. 

Cupping locations

Henry Ford Center for Integrative Medicine offers services at multiple locations throughout metro Detroit. For more information about our locations, call (833) 246-4347

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Contact our Integrative Medicine team

by calling (833) 246-4347 or schedule an appointment through MyChart.


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