By Dr. Kathleen Regan ND


Cupping therapy is an ancient treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for thousands of years. This involves using glass cups and heat to create suction on the skin or by using modern plastic or glass cups with a pump to create suction on the skin. This technique creates read, circular markings that can last hours to days. Cupping has recently gained media attention due to the number of cupping marks seen on athletes in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Which is great because cupping is AMAZING for athletes.

Cupping has a number of benefits in TCM where it ‘warms the channels and removes cold’ while promoting ‘qi and blood circulation’. In western medicine, cupping has been found to dilate the blood vessels and stimulate circulation. This helps to increase circulation and increase metabolism locally, which pulls waste acids out and brings fresh nutrients in to the tissues.

This is of great benefit to athletes, who build up large amount of waste acids such as creatine kinase during athletic performance – leaving them feeling stiff and tight. It can usually take 24 hours or more to recover. But think about athletes like swimmer, Michael Phelps who must perform in multiple events in a close number of days. He cannot afford to take 24 hours to recover. Research has shown that cupping pulls creatine kinase out of the muscles more rapidly where it usually takes at least 24 hours. Cupping helps to keep the body limber and ready for action.

The benefits of cupping aren’t just limited to athletes. We have a variety of practitioners at Innate Wellness who integrate cupping into their practice including our naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists and massage therapists. This is because cupping has also been found to:

  • Relieve Swelling
  • Accelerate Healing
  • Improve Body Temperature
  • Reduce Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Help With Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Reduce Neck and Back Pain as well as should pain.
  • Reduce Back Acne

For more information on this amazing therapy, call or email our reception!


Chi LM, Lin LM, Chen CL, Wang SF, Lai HL, Peng TC. The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.

Sun DL, Zang AB, Xu M, Li ZJ, Zhu XS, Zang Y, Chen DL, Jiang HX, Song Y, Hao [Study on the effect of mild moxibustion combined with cupping therapy on serum creatine kinase in gym-athletes]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2007 Jan;27(1):6-8.

Yuan QL, Guo TM, Liu L, Sun F, Zhang YG. Traditional Chinese medicine for neck pain and low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 24;10(2)