Cupping Therapy: Everything You Need to Know About This “New” Celebrity Alternative Health Trend

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Cupping Therapy Natural Pain ReliefHow do you improve your health? Some people receive practical health advice from their doctor or health practitioner. Others jump on the bandwagon for the latest health trend. It could be the newest superfood or the next can’t-miss weight loss plan.

Trends can certainly have an impact on the popularity of a health remedy or treatment, especially when celebrities preach about their benefits. Last year, actress Lena Dunham posted a photo with large circular bruises on her back. What was so special about those bruises? It was the aftermath from her cupping therapy session with an acupuncturist.

Other celebs have also raved about cupping therapy, including Jessica Simpson, Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston, and Gwyneth Paltrow. So if cupping therapy is “in” right now, should you try it?

What Is Cupping Therapy?

Well, cupping therapy has been around long before Dunham or Paltrow flaunted their red cupping marks. Cupping therapy is a traditional Chinese medicine treatment, and it has relieved various health conditions for more than 2,500 years.

Cupping therapy simply involves the placement of heated glass cups on painful areas of your body. The air within the cups becomes cooler, which creates suction and increases blood circulation at the point of placement. Medicated or herbal oils allow the cups to be moved to the various acupoints or meridians on your body. The cups are then removed after about five to 10 minutes.

Latest Cupping Evidence

The ancient art of cupping has also left its mark on scientific studies. I recall a small study from just last year, which was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. In this study, researchers found that cupping therapy effectively reduced acute and chronic low back pain at a multidisciplinary holistic clinic.

The study observed 21 patients who had suffered from chronic back pain for at least two months. Four glass cups were applied at the lower back of the patients. The cupping technique improved range of motion and reduced muscle tenderness and overall lower back pain.

Another study, this time published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, found that cupping therapy is an effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis. It was even more effective than the pain medication acetaminophen (commonly known as “Tylenol”). The randomized, controlled study observed 40 patients with knee osteoarthritis between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. The treatment also improved blood supply and reduced overall inflammation.

Other Cupping Therapy Benefits

Cupping therapy can also help treat other health conditions, including…

The therapy also helps eliminate toxins from processed foods, caffeine, or cigarette smoking.

Acupuncturists will also sometimes combine alternative therapies, using cupping therapy in conjunction with acupuncture or dry needling.

Worried about the bruises? Know that they are only a minor inconvenience. They don’t hurt, and they tend to disappear within a few days.

So why not try this so-called “new” health trend for yourself. Cupping therapy won’t damage your wallet (a single half-hour treatment is only about $30.00 to $60.00) and it could relieve what might otherwise become debilitating pain.

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Sources for Today’s Article:
Dubowsky, J., “3 Reasons Everyone Should Try Cupping,” MindBodyGreen web site, January 2, 2015;
Markowski, A., et al., “A pilot study analyzing the effects of Chinese cupping as an adjunct treatment for patients with subacute low back pain on relieving pain, improving range of motion, and improving function,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine February 2014; 20(2): 113–117, doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0769.
Murray, R., “What is cupping? Lena Dunham the latest celeb to try the ancient Chinese remedy for pain relief,” NY Daily News web site, March 12, 2014;
“Cupping Therapy,” WebMD web site;, last accessed February 18, 2014.
Khan, A., et al., “Management of knee osteoarthritis with cupping therapy,” Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research October to December 2013; 4(4): 217–223, doi: 10.4103/2231-4040.121417.