So What Exactly Is "Cupping" ?

In 2004, Gwyneth Paltrow attended a New York film premier with purple, circular marks on her back. It didn't take long before stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, David Arquette and Jessica Simpson started to appear with the same markings.

These celebrities are fans of the ancient Chinese medical treatment of "Cupping", in which a warm glass jar is placed over the skin, creating a suction-effect. The muscle fibers and fascia are pulled up into the jar and either left in place or used with oil to slide over the skin. Some consider this to be a "reverse massage" and can be great for tired, sore or tight muscles. Cupping is highly effective in promoting blood circulation which enhances the detoxification processes of the body.

The color of the marking can be diagnostic, as dark red or purple spots indicate more toxins and stagnation in the body. Cupping can be used for respiratory and digestive conditions, detoxification, stress management, pain, muscle tension, and much more. It is often used in conjunction with acupuncture, either before or after placement of the needles.

The procedure itself is comfortable and revitalizing, although may have some moments of "hurt-so-good" sensations, similar to a massage. Although unsightly, the markings left behind are not painful or dangerous and will fade away in a few days. Or, if you are like one of our many celebrity patients, it can be fun to show them off!

So what are you waiting for? Try cupping for yourself to feel  the benefits it has to offer!

Call to schedule your appointment today at (303) 949-4557 or email

Kate Kronisch is a licensed acupuncturist and clinical herbalist

Eastern Traditions Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine 1643 Boulder Street, Suite 104. Denver, CO 80211. (720) 551-8408