Cupping therapy is a myofascial release therapy that can help a wide range of health disorders. Cupping may be recommended as a complementary therapy at Loehr Health Center as part of your treatment plan if you are experiencing:
Muscle pain and soreness
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Low back pain
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
or Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Sports injuries or need to increase athletic performance
*Many providers use cupping therapy to help treat TMJ (Tempromandibular Joint Disorder) or other soft tissue health concerns. At Loehr Health Center, your provider will discuss which treatments they think may be a right fit for you including chiropractic, acupuncture, massage or other forms of myofascial therapy.
What is cupping?
You may have seen Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps or other celebrities with hickey-looking circle marks from receiving cupping therapy. While cupping has been popularized in recent years, it is an ancient Chinese therapy .
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping therapy is based on the thought that stagnant blood and a poor energy flow can cause certain health problems. Early Egyptians used cupping to treat everything from vertigo and constipation to fevers. The Father of Modern Medicine and one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. William Osler, recommended cupping for bronchopneumonia and acute myelitis. In early practice, cups were made out of hollowed out horns and bamboo. Most western cupping providers now use glass, plastic, or silicone cups.
Cupping increases blood flow to the affected areas by applying the cups there and creating suction with the skin. By increasing the blood flow to the area, the practitioner is encouraging the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
There are many varieties of cupping therapy. At Loehr Health Center, our providers may integrate a variety of cupping therapy practices including
Dry cupping is the term used to refer to cupping when it is performed without any substance (like lotion) applied to the skin.
Wet Cupping is the term used to refer to cupping when lotion, Biofreeze, or another liquid is applied to the skin before suctioning the cups.
Deep Tissue Cupping
Using a stronger suction on the cup is beneficial for fascia release and deep tissue bodywork. By moving the cup while it is on, helps to offer the benefits similar to a deep tissue massage.
Trigger Point and Myofasical Release Cupping
Ever felt a ‘crunch’ in your muscle? Those dense knots along the muscle feel tough to the touch. That is scar tissue. Over time, injuries disturb the normal structure of the body’s fascia. By stretching the fascia away from the underlying structures using cupping, the scar tissue is gently broken up and the body can heal.
Athletes commonly using cupping for injury recovery. Many pro athletes incorporate cupping as part of their training routines to help improve their agility and overall performance. Regularly receiving cupping therapy may help improve circulation, lung capacity, lymphatic drainage, and muscle endurance.
We do not currently offer fire cupping, facial cupping, abdominal cupping, or cupping for detoxification. Alternatively, we offer electro-lymphatic drainage for detoxification and lymphatic drainage.
Everything you want to know about Cupping Therapy
Cupping Therapy FAQs and Answers
How much is cupping?
30 min. — $50 | 60 min. — $80 | 90 min. — $120
Is cupping safe?
Yes, cupping therapy is considered a safe complementary therapy used in over 60 countries and in many cultures to help a wide range of health conditions such as muscle pain, hypertension, digestive problems, respiratory conditions, and more.
Let your provider know if the cup is too tight for your comfort level.Individuals taking blood thinners should not try cupping.
Does cupping really work?
A quick search will leave you with mixed information about the scientific proof and effectiveness about cupping. There are about 300 research studies on cupping and jiama (AKA “wet” cupping from Arab and Chinese Traditional Medicine) in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine (PubMed) database.
There are many theories on the mechanisms of cupping including the Pain-Gate Theory (PGT), activation of the immune system, blood detoxification, and reflex zone theories. The standard cited in the medical research trials for “needing further research” is that there are no Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) where the treatment is studied against a placebo. Cupping is not like a pharmaceutical study that can use a medication versus a sugar pill. There is no placebo in cupping. You have to apply the cups or not apply the cups. This makes significant difficulties for studying the placebo effect in cupping.
However, the experts do agree that cupping has minimal side effects (i.e. superficial bruising) and that “cupping could be effective in treating the pain and disability associated with chronic neck pain and chronic low-back pain in the short term.”
According to the National Certification Committee for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine:
In 2010, Chinese researchers performed a systematic review of cupping literature identifying 4,696 citations, paring down to 550 clinical studies, the majority of which evaluated cupping therapy for pain conditions.1 The researchers concluded that “the majority of studies show potential benefit on pain conditions, herpes zoster and other diseases. However, further rigorous designed trials in relevant conditions are warranted to support their use in practice.” (Figure 1) This same group of researchers evaluated eight RCT’s involving 651 patients on wet-cupping therapy for the treatment of herpes zoster. The meta-analysis found that the wet-cupping therapy was superior to western medication, and also reduced the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia.2
Cao, H., Han, M., Li, X., et al. Clinical research evidence of cupping therapy in China: a systematic literature review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2010;10:70. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-70.
Cao, H., Zhu, C., Liu, J. Wet cupping therapy for treatment of herpes zoster: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. 2010;16(6):48-54.*Figure excerpted from Reference 5, published in PubMed Central.
Which practitioners perform cupping at Loehr Health Center?
Your cupping therapy at Loehr Health Center may be done by an athletic trainer or one of the doctors at Loehr Health Center.
What is your cancellation policy?
Loehr Health Center is committed to providing all of our patients with exceptional care. When a patient cancels without giving enough notice, they prevent another patient from being seen. Please call us at 417-887-8075, 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment to notify us of any changes or cancellations. If prior notification is not given, you will be charged for the missed appointment.
Have another cupping question? We’re happy to help.