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Cupping Therapy

Cupping is a fascinating technique that’s been used for centuries and involves suctioning the skin with plastic, silicone or glass cups. Despite the number of years, it’s been in widespread use, little research has been done on cupping, but many patients and acupuncturists believe it may help to increase blood flow, reduce pain, and even boost immune function.

Acupuncture in Port Moody and Coquitlam: What Is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping is a complementary therapy that promotes the flow of that traditional Chinese healers call ‘qi’ or lifeforce. Although this isn’t a conventional medical term, it has time on its side – and lots of time at that. Cupping dates all the way back to ancient Egypt, and Chinese healers have been practising for thousands of years.

You may also have heard the terms yin and yang. They represent positive and negative forces within the body and healers who practice cupping attempt to restore a healthy balance between the two.

Some of the terminologies might require somewhat of a leap of faith, but the more conventional aspects of cupping are akin to many other modern acupuncture and physiotherapy treatments, such as:

  • Cupping helps increase local blood circulation
  • That can lead to a reduction in muscle tension
  • Blood flow promotes faster healing


Is cupping therapy a scientifically proven treatment?

Due to its widespread use, in recent years, there’s been a big increase in the amount of research regarding cupping. Much research is positive and centers around the Heme oxygenase-1 gene, which it’s thought is activated during cupping treatments.

The gene plays an essential role in preventing vascular inflammation, and that could well account for many of cupping’s benefits by:

  • Changing pain signal processing
  • Producing counter-irritation, which reduces pain
  • Stimulation of increased blood flow by releasing nitric oxide


In addition to the benefits above, cupping is also thought to reduce toxicity in the body by acting in specific ways on different systems.

Although the scientific evidence for cupping’s ability to remove toxins is extremely promising, more research is needed:

  • By boosting the immune system by creating artificial inflammation – which may remove toxins by stimulating the immune response, both locally and systemically.
  • By helping the lymphatic system – which is partially responsible for eliminating your body’s waste.
  • By reducing uric acid and cholesterol – which is a natural waste product from the digestion of certain foods. Uric acid build-up can cause high levels of acidity in both the blood and urine.

Acupuncture in Coquitlam and Port Moody: Different types of Cupping Therapy

If one thing is undoubtedly proven, when you make a cupping appointment, you’re not signing up for a flash in the pan treatment.

The method was very probably originally performed using animal horns – but these days, more sophisticated cupping techniques are carried out by experienced registered acupuncture therapists to treat conditions like:


While cupping of olden days could be painful – the suction was generated by fire and heat – these days, therapists use specially designed bell-shaped glass or plastic cups that don’t require heat.

With these cups, your Coquitlam or Port Moody acupuncturist may use a range of different techniques to achieve the desired effect:

  • Running cupping, which involves the application of oil and then moving the suction cups around in a form of massage
  • Flash cupping, which is a technique that involves quick, repetitive suction and release
  • Dry cupping, which is a suction-only method

Cupping and Acupuncture in Port Moody and Coquitlam: What should I expect?

Like with many other forms of registered therapy, your local acupuncture practitioner, your condition and your preferences will all help determine the methods and treatments that work best for you. When you book an appointment at either our Port Moody clinic or Inspine Therapy in Coquitlam, your assigned acupuncturist may suggest cupping to accompany acupuncture treatments. They may also use this technique to treat a specific area or local complaint.

  • First, your practitioner will ask about your symptoms and health history if it’s your first visit.
  • The registered therapist will then place cups on your skin.
  • Patients can feel a sucking sensation and pressure but typically no pain.
  • Some methods require the therapist to leave the cups in place for a few minutes before removal.
  • Cupping can make the skin turn red, and you may experience slight bruising after your treatment.


Sessions typically last between five and ten minutes. Any discoloration or bruising is usually gone within a week after your session.