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Cupping Therapy Uses and Benefits

Myofascial decompression, also known as Cupping Therapy, is an alternative medicine technique that has recently gained popularity as an integrative health treatment. The technique was used in ancient Chinese, Greek, Middle Eastern, and Egyptian cultures. The Ebers Papyrus – a collection of Egyptian medical texts dating from around 1550 BC – mentions the treatment being used as a means of removing foreign matter from the human body.

In more recent times, Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps as well as the U.S. men’s Olympic gymnastics team have used cupping therapy to promote healing and pain relief while they train and compete.

How It Works

The technique works by using a series of small cups that are applied to the skin. While the cups can be made of a number of different materials such as glass, bamboo, or ceramic, most practitioners use cups made of plastic or glass (at Radiant Wellness, we use glass, plastic, and silicone cups).

Suction within the cups opens tiny blood vessels beneath the skin which helps to promote the body’s natural healing process.

There are two variations of the technique:

Wet Cupping: A needle or small blade is used to lightly puncture the skin before and sometimes after the cupping treatment. It is believed that the incisions in the skin help release toxins trapped within the body when the treatment is performed. Note: we do not perform this technique at Radiant Wellness.

Dry Cupping: Dry cupping is an effective technique for soft tissues mobilization. This technique can be performed in two different ways. Some practitioners will heat the inside of each cup, usually with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball. The cotton ball is then set on fire and the heat from the fire draws oxygen out of the cup creating a vacuum effect. The cup is then placed on the skin where the force of the vacuum pulls the skin into the cup.

At Radiant Wellness, we use a vacuum pump to pull air out of the cups. By using a hand-held pump, we can control the level of suction so that it will be both effective as well as comfortable for our clients.

After being placed on the skin, a suction pump is used to remove air from the inside of the cups. This creates a suction effect that gently lifts the skin up into the cup. The cups can either be left in place or moved across the surface of the skin. The suction of the cups increases blood flow to the treatment area which in turn promotes healing and reduces pain.

This technique can be combined with many types of massage such as Swedish massage, hot stone, or sports massage. With that said, the cupping technique is especially beneficial when combined with deep tissue massage. The motion and pressure of the deep tissue massage release tension in the muscle fibers and connective tissues. Once the muscles are relaxed, cupping can then be used to lift the muscle fibers, allowing blood and other fluids to flow throughout the treatment area. Ask your massage therapist which type of massage is right for you.


The technique is used to:

  • Reduce pain in the back, neck, and knees
  • Treat migraines
  • Improve immune system function
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Relieve muscle tension

Side Effects

There are few side effects associated with cupping therapy.

While it may be an effective treatment option, cupping isn’t recommended for some people. Cupping therapy is not recommended for children under four years of age or people suffering from sunburns, open wounds, or disorders affecting the internal organs.

Let’s Schedule Your Appointment!

If you want to find out if cupping is the right treatment option for you or to schedule your appointment, call us at 479-279-0106 or send us a message here.

At Radiant Wellness we are committed to your total health! We serve clients from Van Buren, Fort Smith, and throughout the River Valley. We are specialists in massage therapy, skincare, yoga, and health and wellness coaching. We would love the opportunity to meet you and discuss the many ways Radiant Wellness can help you live life well!

Lance Montgomery

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