How Can Acupuncture & Cupping Help Me?

Athletes are increasingly looking for natural ways to improve health and performance and many have turned to traditional Chinese medicine as a result.  Michael Phelps proudly showed off his purple marks during the Olympic Games and Andy Murray has said that he uses cupping alongside acupuncture and other treatments to relieve stiffness and help him with back pain. However, acupuncture and cupping are not just for athletes.

Acupuncture is widely used in the management of pain. It is used in many NHS general practices, as well as in hospices and pain clinics. It can help to treat a variety of conditions such as chronic pain and pain resulting from injuries or trauma, including sports injuries. Acupuncture can help to:

·                     relieve chronic low back pain

·                     relieve neck pain or chronic neck pain

·                     treat osteoarthritic knee pain

·                     relieve tension type headaches

·                     relieve migraine headache

·                     relieve temporomandibular (TMD/TMJ) pain

·                     improve the symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome

What is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is one of the many and varied therapies of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It involves the insertion of ultra-fine needles into certain locations to stimulate the body’s own healing energy or ‘Qi’.

How it works Acupuncture has been shown to raise the levels of specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood cells, gamma-globulins and anti-bodies. The ‘endorphin’ theory explains how acupuncture can stimulate the body’s own pain killers and ‘feel good’ chemicals ie endorphins.


However, if the idea of needles does not appeal, why not try cupping?

Cupping is a therapeutic technique that can have numerous health benefits. It is simple and effective and can be used alone or in conjunction with other TCM practices such as acupuncture, tuina massage and moxibustion. One way to think about cupping is that it is the inverse of massage. During massage pressure is applied to the muscles, however, during cupping suction pulls the skin, tissue and muscles upwards.

The aim of cupping is to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by a cup applied onto the skin. The vacuum inside the cup creates suction and the underlying tissue is raised partway into the cup.

 Cupping therapy can help to:

·                     Remove toxins from the body

·                     Stimulate the flow of blood, lymph and vital energy (Qi)

·                     relieve back, shoulder and neck pain

·                     reduce stress, fatigue and headaches

During cupping therapy you may feel a tightening sensation under and around the cups. Often, this sensation is relaxing and soothing. Depending on your health condition sometimes cups are left in one position, at other times the therapist may slide the cups over the skin. One of the most common areas of the body to be cupped is the back, although cupping works well on other areas too.

Cupping causes the skin to temporarily turn red, or purple, especially if there is an energetic blockage under the area that was cupped. The skin discoloration may last anything from a few hours to a few days, but is rarely painful. Once the marks have cleared, the procedure can be repeated until the condition or ailment has improved or is resolved.

Note that cupping is not suitable for patients who bleed easily, have skin ulcers or oedema. Also, pregnant women should have cupping with extreme caution and never on the area of the abdomen or lower back.


For more information, to speak to our TCM Therapist, Lubica Stubnova, or to make an appointment for acupuncture, cupping, tuina massage or moxibustion please call our reception team on 020 8977 3295.

Introductory Offer – Enjoy £10 off your first appointment or book 5 treatments for the price of 4 in Feb 2018