Aliso Viejo Acupuncturist

Cupping TherapyAliso Viejo, CA

Here at Open Mind Modalities, OMM, we place value in the fact that we often employ many modalities of healing during our acupuncture treatments. One of our most commonly used modalities is cupping. Made popular by Michael Phelps in the 2016 summer Olympics, cupping is an ancient modality that involves glass or plastic cups being applied to the skin with suction.

It is important to note that cupping therapy is not for everyone and that we administer cupping therapy on a patient-by-patient basis. While cupping therapy may seem simple to some, it is a complex procedure that needs a trained professional. At OMM, we have a team of professionals who can provide cupping therapy in a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

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Cupping involves the painless application of glass or plastic cups locally to the skin with suction, forming a vacuum within the cup on the skin. The cup may be moved around or left to sit for a more extended period of time. During the treatment session, we can use multiple cups at once. The vacuum causes localized decompression of skin, muscle layers and fascia, allowing for new blood to flow into the tissues. While we often place the cups along the back, we may also apply the cups to other areas of the body depending on the needs of the patient. Traditionally, glass cups are used and the vacuum is created with fire, also known as fire cupping. Although we have the capabilities in our office to do fire cupping, we primarily use a brand of plastic cups with a suction gun in order to achieve the same effect- for convenience and in order to ensure the safety of our younger pediatric patients.


Cupping works in a couple of different ways. First, the decompressing action of the cups gently pulls the skin and superficial muscle layers upwards into the cup, promoting myofascial release. Each of the muscles of our body is covered with a continuous, thin layer of fascia, which is a connective tissue that acts to hold all the muscle fibers together. In cases of disease or injury, small fibers of this fascia can get tight or knotted, causing pain and blocking circulation. Cupping acts to gently release these adhesions and can release any tight muscles that may be putting pressure on nerves as well. Commonly patients report a degree of immediate decrease in pain following a treatment.

Second, the decompression of the cups encourages the release of metabolic waste out of the muscles and into the bloodstream to be excreted from the body; by the same token, it brings fresh blood into the muscles and tissues. Patients often ask if cupping “removes toxins” from the body, and by this means, it actually can help assist the body in its own detoxification methods.

Third, cupping just feels good! It is a calming, painless process, and the application of the cups can help regulate the nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It is well suited for patients of all ages.

There is nothing to worry about as the patient will not sustain any burns or feel pain as a result of the cupping procedure. However, patients may notice a light bruise at the spots where the cups were after the procedure as the process brings blood to the surface to enhance healing. This is normal and will not be a large concern. In most cases, the bruises will fade a few days after treatment. During the procedure, the patient will lie down and be able to relax.


As with many forms of traditional Chinese medicine, cupping may not guarantee the same results for each individual patient. As with any procedure, there are several factors that determine if a patient will benefit from cupping. One factor is the patient’s physical condition. The patient may be struggling with a variety of different symptoms. In some cases, symptoms will manifest differently in each patient. If the patient bleeds easily or has inflamed skin, cupping may not be the advised treatment.

Cupping can treat a number of issues! Some of the issues we commonly address with cupping include:

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Tics and repetitive behaviors
  • Regulation of autoimmune disorders
  • Sleep issues
  • Colds/flu
  • Chest congestion
  • Allergies
  • Skin disorders
  • Sports injury
  • High blood pressure

We will work with the child’s parents to ease the child into the procedure if a child can benefit from cupping therapy. We specialize in breaking down the information of a procedure into steps that a child will understand. We will also take the time to acclimate the child with the treatment, making sure that the child is not uncomfortable.

Another factor can be the condition with which the patient is struggling. Cupping will be an effective treatment for some patients and relieve the pain, while other patients will not feel the same benefits. Fortunately, cupping is safe and is not invasive for the patient. In the cases where cupping will not have a positive effect or is not the best option, patients can try one of the many other treatment methods available at OMM.