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What is Cupping Therapy and could it benefit me?

I am sure that many of you had been watching a sporting event in the past, and noticed that an athlete had some strange circles on their body, usually on the back. If you didn't know better, you would think that this athlete was hit multiple times by a ball or was attacked by a giant octopus. However, the reality is far from that.

When you see these temporary markings on the back of an athlete, it means that this person has recently been treated using cupping therapy, as cupping therapy is becoming more commonplace in the sporting community in Canada and the United States. Thankfully, the benefits of cupping therapy can be experienced by both athletes and non-athletes alike.

Shoreside Wellness practitioner performing Cupping Therapy
Shoreside Wellness practitioner performing Cupping Therapy

So what exactly is Cupping Therapy?

It is a treatment that has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, usually as part of a treatment plan that also includes acupuncture. In our clinic, it involves heating up the air inside specially designed glass cups and then placing these cups on the skin to create suction. This suction then draws the skin upward into the cup, creating a vacuum-like effect.

The suction created by the cups helps to release tight muscles and fascia, which can help alleviate conditions such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches. It also promote blood flow, reduces inflammation and promotes relaxation. Additionally, cupping therapy is believed to promote the flow of Qi, or energy, within the body according to traditional Chinese medicine principles, which can also help to reduce pain and promote overall well-being.

Cupping Therapy looks painful-But is it?

Despite the benefits many people have experienced from cupping therapy over the centuries, and despite the adoption of cupping in sports treatments and modern alternative medicine, many people are still hesitant to try cupping therapy. Why? Because they assume that since the cupping process itself causes temporary discoloration of the skin, it must be painful to receive this treatment.

The reality is that it is very rare for people to experience pain when the cupping is applied.

Most people may feel a tight or pulling sensation on their skin, which is typically not painful but can feel unusual the first time you receive the treatment. After the cupping session, it's common to have temporary marks or bruising on the skin where the cups were applied. Although you may feel anxiety when you look in the mirror the first time and see these circles where the cups were applied, be rest assured that these marks are temporary, painless and will fade within a few days to a week. Actually, the sensation of the cups pulling on the skin is often described as soothing and comforting, and many people find cupping therapy to be a deeply relaxing experience.

Cupping Therapy often uses a flame- Could the cups burn me?

Because people see a flame being used to create the vacuum effect from the cup, they are afraid the cup is hot and may burn them. The cups may feel slightly warm to the touch, but it is important to note that the flame is only used to heat the air in the cup to create the vacuum, it is actually not used to heat the cup itself. You will notice that the practitioner is actually holding the cup in their bare hands as further evidence it is not hot at all.


Cupping Therapy has many benefits and is now becoming more widely used in Canada and the US after centuries of use in other countries. After reading this article, we hope that we have not only promoted the benefits of cupping therapy to you, but that we have also addressed some the concerns you may have had about Cupping Therapy, enough so that you may try it.

The experienced practitioners at Shoreside Wellness Centre's Mississauga clinic have treated hundreds of patients using cupping therapy over the years in conjunction with treatment plans that include acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic. Please ask your therapist whether you are a candidate for cupping therapy.


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