Cupping therapy is based on a traditional medicinal practice that comes from China. Cupping is used to treat a wide range of conditions and symptoms, or just to boost circulation and overall health. This is something you can do yourself at home if you have a cupping set.

What Is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is an alternative form of medicine. These treatments consist in applying suction cups on the skin of the patient. The cups are applied on specific pressure points to help with blood circulation or to address pain in an area.

Suction is beneficial since it softens muscles and has a lifting effect on the connective tissues under the skin. It is also believed to help eliminate toxins and fluid buildups. The main benefit of using cupping sets is to stimulate your body’s natural ability to heal.

In some cases, specialized therapists can remove small quantities of blood after a cup has been applied on a pressure point. This practice can help eliminate toxins and will improve circulation.

Some also believe that cupping therapy helps restore the natural flow of energy through your body. This vital force is what determines your mood and energy levels. If your vital energy isn’t flowing properly, it is possible to experience chronic pain, depression, or to become ill.

Cupping is often used to address chronic pain, but some patients receive this treatment to promote skin health or help with weight loss. Anxiety and stress can also be addressed by using suction cups on specific pressure points.

It is possible to combine acupuncture and cupping to treat chronic pain and other symptoms.

Different Types Of Cupping Sets And Cupping Techniques

You need to understand the differences between cupping sets and between the techniques used to apply suction to pressure points if you are thinking about getting your own set.


Traditionally, cupping sets were made from bamboo, iron, bras, or pottery. You can still find bamboo sets.

Most sets are made from plastic, silicone, or glass. Silicone and glass are durable and affordable options that you should consider.


The diameter of the cups will typically vary from one to three inches. You will find smaller sizes if you are shopping for facial cupping sets so that you can target smaller areas.

Ideally, your set should come with different sizes, so you can target different areas and see which size yields the best results for each point you want to target.

Silicone Sets

A silicone or plastic cupping set would be an excellent choice for a beginner. These cups are connected to a small pump that you can use to create a vacuum inside of the cup. This is a convenient option if you want to try cupping therapy at home with no prior experience.

Glass Sets

You will probably come across a glass set labeled as a fire cupping set. This is because glass cups can either be connected to a pump that creates a vacuum or be designed for a technique known as fire cupping.

Fire cupping is a little more advanced, but it is closer to traditional Chinese medicine. This technique consists in burning some herbs or another material inside of the cup and in applying the cup against the skin as the fire dies out.

Oxygen disappears inside of the cup because of the fire dying out, which results in a vacuum being created. This technique is a little more complex to master, but you can get excellent results.

However, you can recreate this same effect by heating up the air inside of the cup before using a pump to create a vacuum. You will need a glass cup set if you want to try this method since heating up a plastic or silicone cup might not be safe.

Dry Vs. Wet Cupping

There are two different methods to consider if you are interested in cupping. Dry cupping consists in simply applying a cup against your skin and in creating a vacuum to stimulate blood flow to the area.

With wet cupping, a small cut is made in the skin when the cup is removed. You can also use a small needle to draw a few drops of blood. An antiseptic ointment is then applied to clean the area.

In some cases, another smaller cup is applied to the area after the cut is made. This second cup draws a little more blood and improves circulation in the area. You can practice wet cupping without using this second cup if you only want to draw a few drops of blood.

Dry cupping is something you can easily do at home. There is less discomfort and you can get excellent results if you want to treat chronic pain or relieve stress.

Wet cupping includes an additional step to eliminate toxins and fluid buildups. Drawing a few drops of blood is good for your circulation, and the discomfort should be very minimal if this is done properly.

How To Choose Your Cupping Set

Choosing the best cupping therapy sets can be challenging since every seller claims they have the best product on the market. Here are a few things to consider when comparing sets:

  • Ask yourself which material would make more sense for you. Silicone is ideal if you are a beginner and want to use your cupping set by yourself.
  • Does the set come with a pump or will you have to use fire cupping to create a vacuum?
  • Look at how many cups are included and make sure there are different sizes. Larger cups would be ideal to activate pressure points on your back or chest, but you will need some smaller cups for your face.
  • Is it easy to clean up and store the set?
  • Look for reviews from people who have used the cupping set you are interested in.
  • Professional cupping sets can be expensive. Get started with a smaller and more affordable set before deciding if you want to invest in something different.

You might want to look for a set that comes with additional supplies, such as essential oils you can use to prepare your skin or an antiseptic ointment if you are ready to try wet cupping.

If you are new to cupping, you should think about scheduling an appointment with an experienced therapist. You will get to see for yourself what kind of results you can achieve with this alternative form of medicine.

You will also find out where your pressure points are, and maybe get a chance to try fire or wet cupping if you can find a therapist who has experience with these more advanced techniques.

How To Use Your Cupping Set

You should apply the cups directly on your clean and dry skin. The main obstacle to getting started with cupping consists in figuring out where your pressure points are.

There are detailed charts you can use to find the exact location of your different points. The advantage of cupping is that you can target several points at once. However, you will have to go through a process of trial and error to figure out which points you need to target to address your symptoms and to determine how long you should wait before removing the cups.

Here are a few common symptoms and the pressure points you should target with your cupping sets to alleviate them:

  • If you suffer from insomnia, try placing a cup between your shoulder blades, one directly under your right shoulder blade, one just above your tailbone, and one under each knee.
  • You can treat stomach problems by combining one cup between your shoulder blades, a cup on each side of your spine directly under the rib cage, one cup on each side of your spine on the back of your neck, and six smaller cups forming a circle around your belly button.
  • If you want to improve your blood circulation, try placing two cups on your spine directly below your neck, one just above your tailbone and place ten smaller cups running down each side of your spine.
  • If you invested in a cupping set to lose weight, place two cups on your spine just below the neck, one cup directly under your rib cage on both sides, on your shoulder blade slightly to the left of your spine, and one in the middle of your chest. You can use additional cups in the areas where you want to lose weight.
  • And if you would like to stop smoking, try placing two cups on your spine just under your neck, a small one on the left side of your nose, one on top of your head, and another one directly above your tailbone.

Cupping therapy is somewhat similar to a massage except that it uses suction instead of pressure. Just like massage therapy, it can treat a wide range of symptoms and health conditions. You should think about scheduling an appointment with a therapist, so you can try this alternative form of medicine before deciding if you want to get your own set.

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