wholife logo
Wholeness & Wellness Journal
of Saskatchewan Since 1995
  Home | Events | Classifieds | Directory | Profiles | Archives | Subscribe | Advertise | Distribution | Our Readers | Contact

Volume 28 Issue 2
July/August 2022

It’s the Berry Best Time of Year

The Iyengar Approach to Yoga

Harvesting Your Garden for Craft and Medicine

What is Cupping Therapy?

What a Difference a Day Makes

Need an Escape? Ready for Change? Why Not Go on a Retreat?



What is Cupping Therapy?
by Becki French
Becki French

Cupping is an ancient alternative therapy used to reach deep muscles and tissues. Oxygen is removed from the cup, placed on the area to be treated, and then inside the cup, the skin and underlying tissues are pulled upwards. This is a negative pressure and can reach structures up to four inches below the skin’s surface.

The cups can be made out of glass, silicone, or plastic. Depending on the type of cup, a pump or flammable substance can be used to remove oxygen from the cup.

The History of Fire Cupping

While cupping therapy is becoming increasingly popular, it’s not new. Cupping therapy can be traced back to ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cultures. The technique is even described in one of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, which means ancient Egyptians may have been using cupping therapy as early as 1,550 B.C.

According to ancient Chinese medicine, cupping improves the flow of Qi (chi), or energy in the body. If Qi is disrupted, it can create stagnation (blockage) or imbalance of energy in the body. Cupping is used to remove stagnation and increase circulation or energy in the body.

An old Chinese maxim says that “Where there’s stagnation, there will be pain. Remove the stagnation, and you remove the pain.”


There are two types of cupping: wet and dry.

  1. With wet/bleeding cupping, the practitioner makes a small incision to draw blood before intentionally pulling stagnant blood out of the incision with the suction of the cup.
  2. With dry cupping, it is a suction-only method and no incisions are made to withdraw blood. *Becki only does dry cupping.

What to Expect During a Treatment

Cupping therapy can be added onto a massage treatment. An hour or longer is ideal. Areas that can be treated are the back, neck, arms, glutes, and legs.

With fire cupping, an alcohol swab or a flammable substance is lit on fire and quickly placed inside the cup, then removed. The cup is then put on the area to be treated. This will create the suction on the tissues. It can be left stationary or moved around. Sometimes the cups are kept on specific areas for 10 minutes. The feeling is often described as a pulling sensation and is not typically painful.

After receiving a cupping treatment, drink plenty of water, rest, and stay warm. You will want to avoid intense exercise and extreme hot/cold temperatures. All of this will ensure that you get the best results from your treatment.

The Benefits

There are many benefits of cupping, including increased circulation, increased range of motion, decreased pain, and promotion of tissue healing.

It is used to treat many conditions such as:

  • Migraines and tension headaches
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Chronic injuries
  • Colds and asthma
  • Scar tissue
  • Adhesions (knots)
  • Improves immunity

The Marks

The marks left behind are areas of stagnant blood and toxins being pulled to the surface. These are not bruises and are not painful, but may be tender. They go away in about 1–10 days, depending on the individual.

The discolouration can tell you several things. No colour means nerve or bone issues, Qi or energy deficiency. Light pink/red means moderate blockage. Dark purple means severe stagnation. With more cupping treatments, the marks actually decrease in colour. They do this because there is no longer stagnant blood sitting in your tissues to be pulled up.


Cupping is also generally considered off-limits or to be used with caution for those with:

  • Organ failure
  • Cancer patients
  • Patients with pacemakers
  • Hemophilia
  • Sunburn
  • Infection
  • Open wounds
  • Heart disease
  • Avoid abdomen or low back during pregnancy

Success Story

I have had great results with cupping therapy throughout the years, but this case is particularly remarkable.
A client presented with chronic headaches due to stress, anxiety, and poor posture. She came to me for a headache relief treatment. I could tell right away that her neck was very stiff and she had decreased range of motion. She was also very apprehensive about moving her neck too much as it caused pain.

After her first massage treatment, I suggested fire cupping therapy to help loosen the tight muscles in her upper back and neck. She decided to give it a try the following week.

She came in and her neck range of motion was still limited and her headache had returned. I placed some cups on her upper back and moved them up along the posterior neck. I also placed some on her pectorals to help loosen them. After applying the cups, I did a thorough neck massage and some deep neck and pectoral stretches.

The results from this treatment were amazing! Her headache decreased substantially and her neck range of motion improved dramatically. She rebooked weekly for four weeks, and at the end of that time, she rarely experienced headaches and her posture started to improve. She was no longer apprehensive about moving her neck either. She also made sure to do the home care that I provided to help get better results.

She now only books once a month for maintenance, and every now and then, she comes in more frequently if her headaches are getting worse again.

If you’re ready to try out fire cupping, you can scan the QR code to book online, or visit our website at broadway.health.

Becki French has been practicing massage therapy in Saskatoon for 13 years. Throughout that time, she has gained experience working in both spa and clinical settings. She also taught massage therapy for four years and has been doing fire cupping for nine years. Becki has been part of the Broadway Health Collective (BHC) team for one year now. Becki_french@hotmail.com, (306) 220-8664. See the BHC display ad on page 15 of the 28.2 July/August issue of the WHOLifE Journal.


Back to top

Home | Events | Classifieds | Directory | Profiles | Archives | Subscribe | Advertise
Distribution | From Our Readers | About WHOLifE Journal | Contact Us | Terms Of Use | Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2000- - Wholife Journal. All Rights Reserved.