What is Cupping?

Cupping is an ancient alternative medicine that involves a licensed therapist putting special cups on the skin for a few minutes to generate suction. There are two types of cupping – dry and wet.

For dry cupping, the therapist puts a flammable substance like alcohol, herbs or paper in a cup and lights it on fire (“fire cupping therapy”). Once the fire goes out, the cup is placed upside down on the skin. A vacuum is created as the air inside the cup cools, which causes the skin to rise and for blood vessels to expand. The cup is usually left in place for about 3 minutes.

Wet cupping, also called “hijama,” takes the process of dry cupping a step further. Once the cup has been left in place for 3-5 minutes, the therapist administers little cuts to the raised skin allow to release toxic blood and fluids. The therapist may apply pressure to speed up the fluid flow process, and another cup is placed on the same area to suck up the liquids.

The cups can be made from:

  • Glass
  • Bamboo
  • Earthenware
  • Silicone

The Benefits of Cupping

The major benefit of cupping increased blood flow, which helps increase the rate of healing in recovery from muscle fatigue, injuries, and other conditions. Many athletes, including Michael Phelps, use cupping muscle knots to help improve and keep up performance.

Cupping can be used to treat any of the following conditions:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Back, hip, and IT band pain
  • Pain in the shoulders, upper back or neck
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Certain respiratory issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and chest congestion related to the common cold

Chiropractic cupping or cupping for fertility are also potential uses.

Cupping in Acupuncture

Cupping can be used as a standalone massage treatment, but it can also be combined with acupuncture in one treatment. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). It pulls tension up, which can then be released by using acupuncture. It involves inserting very thin, sterile needles through the skin at strategic points on the body. Acupuncture is based on the concept of “qi,” which is an energy used to address pain and mobility problems. The practice is used to relieve pain, but more recently it has found a place in overall wellness promotion – including stress management.

Why Study Chinese Cupping?

Treating patients with holistic methods can help them be the best version of themselves, but a career in acupuncture with a specialization in cupping can be rewarding for you as well. Some of the benefits you can expect to enjoy from this career path include:

Flexibility in scheduling

One of the best perks about pursuing a career in acupuncture therapy is the chance to make your own work schedule. You can have your own practice if you wanted to, or you could choose to go into business with someone else. The choice is entirely yours.

Travel opportunity

As a licensed acupuncturist specializing in cupping, you are in demand virtually everywhere. You choose to live wherever you’d like and practice in any health setting you wish. Additionally, you could travel regularly for work. Spas, resorts, cruise ships and other settings are just some of the exciting places a career in acupuncture.

Improved workplace atmosphere

Traditional clinical settings can be stuffy or ridden with bureaucracy, but working in a practice specializing in acupuncture has much more freedom. Running your own practice means you can set the vibe.

Practicing independently

You have a world of opportunity as an acupuncturist, and one of the best opportunities is the chance to be your own boss. You can build your own career from the bottom up, which can be very rewarding.

A faster career path

Becoming a traditional medical doctor can take many years – four in medical school and then between three and seven years in residency. Becoming an acupuncturist takes just 12 months through the American Institute of Alternative Medicine (AIAM).

Chinese Cupping Therapy at AIAM

Getting a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture from AIAM prepares healthcare practitioners for provide holistic and alternative treatments for patients who wish to alleviate their conditions with as few medications as possible. Chinese cupping therapy is just one of many different traditional Chinese medicines you can expect to learn through AIAM’s Acupuncture program. Others include:

  • Korean hand therapy
  • Gua sha
  • Moxibustion
  • Needle-less acupuncture

Acupuncture Therapy at AIAM

If you’re interested in experiencing cupping, you should make sure to consider having acupuncture done as well, as the two services are complementary and fall under the same holistic treatment umbrella. AIAM’s Acupuncture Therapy Clinic focuses on traditional Chinese medicine with the goal of promoting balance, health and vitality. Acupuncture can involve needles or be needleless, and the major goal of the practice is to alleviate pain, which increases a person’s ability to feel better as a whole.

AIAM’s acupuncture programs have been running for 20 years – making the program one of the longest-running in the Midwest. Prospective employers look specialization when hiring new therapists, and AIAM can prepare you to showcase your capabilities with cupping. Through the program you will also learn key business skills and professionalism, which sets you up for a rewarding, long-lasting career as a licensed therapist.

Learn more about AIAM’s Acupuncture program requirements or apply to jumpstart your career as a licensed therapist.