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  • Thomas Nerbas

The Ancient Art Of Cupping

In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, cupping has been used for over 2,500 years by acupuncturists and therapists in many cultures including the Chinese, the Egyptians and Greeks. Cupping eventually spread to many countries of Europe and is now employed worldwide.  Originally, animal horn was used for cupping, eventually bamboo cups were used and today, we use glass cups in a variety of different sizes. 

Cupping is a suction technique designed to pull toxin build-up and muscle spasm from the body’s deeper tissue to the surface of the skin for elimination. The result is relaxation of tight muscles, reduced inflammation, acupuncture point stimulation, a release of toxins, increased circulation of blood and lymph, movement of fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrition to the area.


Cupping is diagnostic as well as therapeutic, and can tell us three basic things:

First, cupping tells us exactly where the problem is, as we usually cup an area slightly larger than the painful region, in order to ensure that the pain is completely covered. Some skin under the cups will colour, and some won’t, although the same amount of suction has been used with all cups. Even on the skin under a single cup, one part may colour while the rest may not.These coloured areas help us identify the sources of pain and discomfort.


Second, cupping tells us the kind of problem with which we are dealing, as problems relating to toxin build-up or muscle spasm will cause the skin under the cup to colour, whereas issues dealing with nerve or bone will not colour at all. 


Third, cupping shows us the severity of the problem. Light or moderate blockage will cause the skin under a cup to colour pink or red, and it will take a day or two for this colour to fade. Severe stagnation can cause the skin to colour a deep scarlet, purple, or even black; it may take seven to ten days for the dark colour to disperse. All of this information is helpful not only in treating the patient, but in making an accurate diagnosis.


With muscle and tissue tension present, the cupping sensation can be a bit uncomfortable for the first sixty seconds, the time during which most of the toxins are removed. The discomfort usually eases after sixty seconds. Cups rarely need to be applied for more than ten minutes. If no colour appears after a few minutes, cups can be removed and placed elsewhere on the body. Cupping is an extraordinary technique, and its effects are immediate. The healing process may be shortened by weeks or even months by using cupping therapy.


The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping loosens stiff muscles and fascia tension resolving neck pain, back pain, headaches, and other pain anywhere in the body. It promotes blood flow and sedates the nervous system; making it an effective treatment for high blood pressure and anxiety. This treatment is valuable for the lungs to enhance tissue oxygenation; clearing congestion, cough, bronchitis and the like. Resolving blockages with cupping enhances oxygen metabolism which results in improved energy and mobility.

Cupping is one of the best deep tissue therapies available; affecting tissues up to four inches deep from the skin surface. Cupping removes circulatory interference allowing release of toxins, reducing inflammation and enhancing lymph circulation to enhance immune function. Increasing a movement of fresh blood improves oxygen and nutrition transfer to the area. Promoting circulation with cupping eliminates menstrual problems, digestive problems including stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. 


Schedule fire cupping with Thomas Nerbas, R.Ac., PFT to experience this ancient healing modality first hand. Enjoy the convenience of scheduling fire cupping appointments online in real-time, 24/7 at

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