Fire and Air Cupping

The term ‘cupping’ might sound foreign and unrelated to your health. Or, perhaps you’ve heard the term, but have never really thought about how you might be able to benefit from it. You’ll find a wealth of information on cupping here, which should help you decide on whether its something you might want to consider incorporating into your healthcare routine.

Cupping comes in two forms: Fire Cupping and Air Cupping. As the name suggests, one form uses fire and the other (less scary option!) uses air suction, in the form of a pump. Although the thought of having an open flame close to your body might make most people shiver in fear, the ancient Chinese practice of fire cupping is highly effective and beneficial for a number of ailments and is nowhere near as scary as it sounds! Many celebrities and athletes swear by this treatment, including Jennifer Aniston, Michael Phelps, and Gwyneth Paltrow, amongst others! And if the thought of using fire still makes you quiver, then Air Cupping might be for you!

Here we discuss the history and practice of fire cupping and air cupping, as well as its benefits and advantages.

What is Fire Cupping? It’s Probably Not As Scary As You Might Think!

A therapist will use different cup sizes, made of glass. A cotton ball is soaked in a small amount of alcohol and lit up with the flame from a match or lighter. After a quick motion of placing the flamed cotton ball inside a cup and out, the cup is carefully placed on specific parts of the body to create a ‘vacuum’ over the skin and muscle. Using this technique, the flame is rarely close to the skin! The cooling air inside the cup provides the suction that holds the muscle and causes the surrounding blood vessels to dilate. These cups are then left on for 5-10 minutes to allow them to work their magic. The therapist may use several cups aimed at different parts of the body for maximum benefits, or carefully slide them using baby oil to cover a wider muscle area. This is called “moving cupping”.

Cupping for the uninitiated

How can these little cups of hot air help my body?

This Chinese maxim that speaks volumes for the effectiveness of Fire Cupping. This revolves around the premise that the body has energy flows, or qi, that run through the channels, called ‘meridians’. Fire cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy that works on muscle tension and blood flow to relax and rejuvenate the body. The suction created from the cups causes blood vessels to expand thereby forcing a fresh flow of blood through the affected area. This can revitalise the blood vessels and allow more oxygen and nutrients to pass through the area which in turn. aids in the healing of injuries and illness helps to promote relaxation and calm. On top of that, the increased blood flow can help flush out toxins and other blockages that may hinder healing or cause pain or stress.

The suction from the cups also relaxes muscles as they are deeply massaged and stimulated through a pulling technique, almost the opposite of massage where muscles are pushed and pressed. Your skin will be left with small circular marks or bruises where the cup has been, which is a sign of the blockages being loosened and the blood starting to flow much better. These are nothing to worry about! They usually clear up in a few days and aren’t permanent!

What can Fire or Air Cupping help me with?

Fire or Air Cupping is highly effective for a whole range of illnesses, ailments, and complaints. Below is a partial list:

Ailments of the body:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Leg pain
  • Aches and strains
  • Rheumatism and Arthritis
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Other Acute or chronic pain
  • Digestive complaints
  • Gynecological disorders/infertility
  • Hypertension/hypotension (high or low blood pressure)
  • Nerve pain

Ailments of the mind:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relaxation
  • Fighting addictions
Hijama - the treatment of bloodletting. Attached vacuum cup. Blood fills in the cup.

What do you offer at Backs in Action?

The great thing about Fire/Air Cupping is that it works extremely well with acupuncture, meaning your appointment can include both acupuncture and Fire/Air Cupping to maximise the benefits to your mind and body. A typical session with will include a brief medical history and assessment of current complaints. The Acupuncturist will then complete a course of Fire or Air Cupping and/or acupuncture to help your mind and body to heal. And don’t worry, if you’re afraid of needles, or simply don’t want an acupuncture treatment included in your session, then there is a 30-minute Cupping therapy only session at Backs in Action offered by our registered acupuncturist and highly trained fire and air cupper, Sungwoon Shawn Tjen.

The treatment choice is completely up to you and what you feel comfortable with. Read more on the history and practice of acupuncture in our blog here.

Fire and Air Cupping also compliments other treatment offered at Backs in Action including chiropractic care, physiotherapy and massage therapy. Combine cupping with other treatments to maximize your health and wellness.

What do Acupuncture & Fire/Air Cupping cost?

Please see our current price list for current prices. In addition to regular acupuncture treatments and fire cupping and air cupping treatments, we offer electroacupuncture, <astyle="color: #ff6600;" href="">facial acupuncture and orthopedic acupuncture. Many of our programs also include a short program of massage.

Short on time? We offer reduced-time acupuncture and fire/air cupping appointments and if needles aren't your thing, we can also customize a cupping and massage program for your needs.

The great news is we direct bill to a large number of extended health providers to help take the stress out of submitting paperwork yourself! Just another way help keep you stress free!

You can book your appointment by calling us at 604-876-9977, emailing us or book directly online here.