The Surprising History of Cupping (Blaine Acupuncture Back Pain Therapy Clinic)

Surprising HistoryCupping

The origins of cupping

Cupping is a treatment used today with ancient roots. Native cultures from around the world have used cupping throughout history.

Early on, primitive cups were used with a hole was placed on top. Cups were then placed on the skin.

The practitioner would then remove toxins from the patient’s body by siphoning it with their mouth, through the hole of the cup.

    China (c.1000-3000 B.C.)

Archaeological evidence points to cupping being used as far back as 3000 B.C. in China. Animal horns and bamboo were crafted into make-shift cups. These cups were used to draw out toxins like poisonous venom from poisonous snake bite wounds. (The Chinese later added cupping to divert blood during surgery).

          Chinese cupping records:

  • The earliest recorded use in China was by Ge Hong, an herbalist who wrote A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies (241-381).
  • In a Han Dynasty tomb, an ancient text written on silk, called the Bo Shu.
  • The famous ancient medical text the, Su Sen Liang Fang included cupping for the treatment of chronic cough.

    Egypt (1550 B.C.)

The Egyptian Ebers Papyrus is one of the most ancient of medical texts in the world.  Illustrations show through Egyptian hieroglyphics, the process of cupping.

    Greece (460-377 B.C.)

During the Classical Greek period, Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” practiced cupping to treat internal disease.

Responsible for what we now call “clinical observation,” Hippocrates has had such an impact on modern medicine that doctors today continue to take the “Hippocratic Oath.”

    North America

Native American Ojibwa women were cupping practitioners called, bepe’swe’jikwe, translating into “cutting women.” This is because they performed what is known as   “bleeding” cupping   to remove stagnant blood in order to treat blood-poisoning, headaches, swellings, inflammation and joint pain.


Cups made of animal horn are still used to this day in parts of Africa.

“Bleeding” Cupping

Bleeding cupping may sound scary at first. However, until around the 1950’s the use of leeches were widely used to bleed toxins from the body.


leeches (and maggots) are returning to modern medicine.

Here’s why:

(Here’s a PBS link on “leech therapy” used in surgery)

“Bleeding” cupping therapy is continued today by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, when appropriate for treatment.

Cupping loses popularity

So, with all this history of cupping being used by so many different cultures for so many ailments, how did this useful treatment fall out of favor?

Perhaps cupping fell out of favor due to modern medicine shifting its focus to internal medicine. New devices discovered blood cells and infectious disease, such as the microscope and stethoscope.

Antibiotics were discovered, in response to this. Of course these great scientific breakthroughs in medicine have saved many lives and increased the quality of life in others.


Focus then shifted from treating the patient to prevent disease

                                                                            to treating only the disease, itself.

Cupping and other preventative care no longer fit into this new paradigm of medicine. Somewhat stigmatized as folk remedy, its use became less popular.

Cupping today

Cupping is popular in Anoka for prevention of cold and flu and for back pain. Cupping has increased in popularity with the help of Hollywood icons proudly sporting their cupping marks.

                                      (Link to see cupping marks)

How does it work?

This therapy releases stagnation, in order to relieve pain from the energy meridians (or pathways) of the body.

Toxins and pathogens are drained, to promote lymph circulation in order to help strengthen the immune system to relieve colds, sinus issues and to help prevent cold and flu. Cupping is a cold and flu prevention treatment in Anoka.


What it treats
In ancient times, cupping was used for expelling toxic poisons, fever and lung issues. Today, cupping is used in Anoka to treat asthma, back pain, bronchitis, circulation, diarrhea and stomach ache, muscle tightness, pain due to fibromyalgia, shoulder pain, sinus issues, stress, vomiting and wheezing. We treat asthma and allergies with cupping at Ackerman Acupuncture near Coon Rapids.

Cupping is helpful for the prevention of cold and flu by draining toxins and pathogens, promoting circulation of the lymphatic system, cleaning the blood and lymph, and thereby strengthening the immune system. Cupping is a cold and flu prevention treatment near Andover.

     Cold & Flu Prevention

Cupping is a cold and flu prevention treatment near Coon Rapids.

This time of year it’s vital to stay on top of your personal care to avoid being overwhelmed and exhausted with routines and busy schedules.

You   just   can’t   afford   to   be   sick.

(click here for 5 Fast Tips for Preventing Colds)

With the kids back to school and the upcoming cold and flu season, be sure to take early preventative care to stay well, in body, mind and spirit.

One preventative treatment option, for cold, flu, cough and wheezing is cupping therapy at Ackerman Acupuncture for Pain Relief and Stress in Anoka. Ackerman Acupuncture in Anoka practices pain relief using cupping, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

We are focused on prevention and concerned with treating the root cause of your dis-ease, not just masking your symptoms, as some pain medications, and cold/flu remedies do.

Schedule your cupping appointment now at Ackerman Acupuncture to relieve pain today.

You are sure to have a relaxing treatment in Blaine.
Call us at (763) 477-1338
E-mail us at [email protected]
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This article is not intended to replace any health care.

No information on this site should be relied on to determine medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. As with any health concerns, always be sure to consult your health care provider with any health concerns.