During a cupping treatment, a cup is placed on the skin and then heated or suctioned onto the skin. Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This can relieve muscle tension improving overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It can also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue. Cupping has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It may be particularly effective at easing conditions that create muscle aches and pains. Since the cups can also be applied to major acupressure points, it can also treat digestive issues, skin issues, and other conditions commonly treated with acupressure.
A 2012 review of studies suggests cupping therapy’s healing power may be more than just a placebo effect. The researchers found that cupping therapy may help with the following conditions, among others: