Cupping is an age-old technique used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate acupuncture points or larger areas of the body. It involves placing cups on the skin in a way that creates suction. This is believed to stimulate blood flow and free up energy blockages to promote natural healing. Cupping therapy is most commonly used to relieve pain, ease tense muscles and encourage relaxation.

How does cupping work?

Cupping is rather like a ‘reverse’ deep-tissue massage using suction instead of downward pressure. The blood is drawn to the surface of the skin in specific parts of the body that need healing.

In cupping, the therapist creates a vacuum inside each cup and quickly places it onto the skin. The cups will typically be in place for five to ten minutes, but some treatments can last up to twenty minutes depending on the nature of your condition.

If large areas of the body need treating, a technique known as massage cupping is used. The skin will be lubricated so your therapist can glide the cups over the muscles being treated.

What is cupping used for?

The main uses of cupping are to:

  • stimulate blood flow, improve circulation and promote healing
  • ease back, shoulder and neck pain and tension and loosen tight muscles
  • relieve stress and promote relaxation.

People also report many other benefits, ranging from improved well-being to healthier-looking skin and even the alleviation of colds and congestion.

What to expect

Cupping feels like gentle suction and is not painful. However, it can leave reddish, circular marks on the skin where the cups have drawn blood to the surface. The marks are temporary and will generally disappear within a few days.

Who can benefit from cupping therapy?

Cupping may not be suitable for everyone and is not recommended if you are pregnant. At The Forge Clinic we will carry out a full consultation with you before your first treatment to determine whether cupping is right for you and how you could benefit from this therapy.

Cupping therapy is offered by Sandra O’Hagan

If you would like to book an appointment with Sandra O’Hagan, our skilled acupuncturist and cupping practitioner, please give us a call on 020 8332 6184 or email us at

Please note that our treatments do not replace medical advice and treatment. If you have any concerns, please see your GP first.