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VIII. History of Cupping

Cupping therapy was used in Egypt dating back some 3,500 years, where its use is mentioned in hieroglyphics. Cupping was used extensively by Roman, Celts, Turks, Slavic's, Mayans, Aztecs, Indians and by healers throughout the Far & Middle East. The earliest recorded use of cupping that is from the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281-341 A.D.), invented well before Acupuncture. Some of the first suction vessels were hollowed out animal horns, used to drain toxins out of bites, pustules and skin lesions from the body. Bones and gourds were also use by ancient healers, and most are still in use today in some non-industrialized societies. Bamboo, earthenware and metal were also used as cupping vessels before the invention of glass.


This traditional therapy is a time-honored treatment that remains favored by millions of people worldwide because it's safe, comfortable and remarkably effective for most health disorders.

Cupping/Negative Pressure Massage, as it suggests, is the combination of negative pressure and massage movements with the use of a suction device. A cup is positioned at the area to be treated and, depending on the type of cups being used; a vacuum is created within the cup to draw the underlying tissue into the cup. The suction level can range from light to heavy, and the movements performed by the therapist can be stimulating or sedating. The produced vacuum creates a suction effect that increases blood circulation to the local area, relaxes muscle tissue and releases a myriad of pain causing factors.

The suction of the cups rapidly facilitates rigid soft tissue release by stretching it up and away from underlying structures, thus loosening areas of adhesion and/or restriction, activating muscle spindle reflexes that relax contractile tissue and help to realign the facial structure.
The body never lies.
~ Martha Grahm

The effects are remarkable on stiff and aching muscles and activate the secretion of synovial fluids, which ease joint stiffness in ways not possible using the compression of traditional massage. It concurrently creates localized expansion of tissue, producing a profound vasodilatation reaction - drawing blood flow to areas of ischemic pain, raising skin temperature, promoting metabolism within the skin tissue for better functioning of sweat and sebaceous glands, flushing capillary beds, draining stagnant blood, toxins and lymph, and re-supplying vital nutrients. Further, it stimulates the nervous system reflex to the cerebral cortex, contributing to an increased rate of recovery from pain and disease.

The pulling sensation helps to release muscles and calms the sympathetic nervous system, thus allowing a deep relaxation to move through the whole body. It is not unusual for a patient to fall asleep while being cupped, surprised at how remarkably relaxed and light they feel - hours and even days after the treatment has ended.

Partial list of conditions responding to Cupping Therapy:

Colds & Influenza
Intercostal Neuralgia
Intestinal disorders
Liver disorders
Gallbladder disorders
Dermatological disorders
Depression, Anxiety
and insomnia
Fibromyalgia & Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome
Musculo-skeletal problems:
pain, spasms, cramps,
tightness, numbness,
stiffness of the back and neck
Chronic gastric pain
High blood pressure,
stroke and arteriosclerosis
Bronchial asthma & congestion
Gynecological disorders
Menopausal discomforts
Kidney disorders (including
frequent/urgent urination)
Post-injury trauma
Post-surgery adhesions

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