Cupping Therapy for Baby Boomers

Last Update: August 13, 2016

Cupping therapy is not a treatment that has just showed up on the scene. People have been practicing cupping therapy for around 2500 years. The scientific name for this treatment is Myofascial Decompression.

I first became aware of cupping therapy a couple years ago, and didn’t give it much thought. Then here come the Olympic Games in Rio. I noticed a gymnast on the USA team had these circular marks on his shoulder. I thought, I wonder if these marks are a result of cupping. My answer came when I was watching the swimming competition, and Michael Phelps has identical marks on his back. The commentator verified that these marks are the tail tail result of cupping therapy.

cupping in action

I decided, it is time to do some research and find out what this cupping thing is all about, and I wanted some questions answered. These are questions which needed to be answered.

  1. What is cupping therapy?
  2. What are the types of cupping therapy?
  3. What does it accomplish?
  4. Does it really work?
  5. What does it cost?
  6. Are there side effects?
  7. Can cupping therapy be beneficial for baby boomers.

Here are the answers.

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is a deep-tissue treatment, and involves creating a small area of low pressure next to the skin. That area of low pressure is contained inside the cup. A mechanical suction pump is used to suck the air from the cup, after the cup has been applied to the skin. The cup is equipped with a small valve, to facilitate creating a vacuum inside the cup, and releasing the vacuum when the procedure is completed.

Types of Cupping Therapy

There are two types of cupping therapy. Dry Cupping, and Fire Cupping. The dry cupping technique has already been described in the “What is Cupping Therapy” section of this post. So I’ll not go over it again.

Fire Cupping is accomplished by soaking a cotton ball in alcohol. The cotton ball is set on fire, and placed, very quickly inside the cup, and then removed. Immediately the cup is placed on the skin. A suction is created inside the cup, when the air inside the cup cools down.

Massage oil may be applied to the skin, prior to applying the cups. This facilitates moving the cups to treat a larger area. The oil also helps create a better seal.

The circular marks that accompany the cupping procedure is result of bruising, and should only last for about a week.

What does Cupping Therapy Accomplish?

It is claimed that cupping therapy will cure a variety ailments. They include the following;

  • Blood disorders (anaemia, haemophilia).
  • Rheumatic diseases (arthritic joint and muscular conditions).
  • Fertility and gynecological disorders.
  • Skin problems (eczema, acne).
  • Also claimed to help with general physical and psychological well-being.
But Does it really Work?

Cupping therapy seems to work for patients who have faith in it. That is called the placebo effect. There are professional athletes, and celebrities who swear by cupping therapy.

On the other side of the coin, authorities on the subject, such as Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, who wrote in their book “Trick or Treatment”, say that no evidence exist of any beneficial effects of cupping for any medical condition.

What does Cupping Therapy Cost?

Based on the average costs of cupping therapy, I have found that a cupping therapy treatment is not cheap. The normal therapy session last for 45 to 60 minutes. And the cost of one session ranges from $25.00 to $60.00. It may require up to 20 sessions to cure the problem. Do the math. Even at $25.00 a session, if 20 sessions are required. The bill is going to be $500.00. Also we need to be aware that because cupping therapy is considered an alternative medicine, many insurance companies will not cover the expense.

Are there Side Effects?

There are a couple of side effects from cupping therapy, that we should be aware of.

  • There are circular marks in the skin that always accompany a cupping therapy session. These marks should be temporary. They will only last for about a week.
  • There is a possibility for a skin infection. Or if the treatment is not done properly, the skin at the site of the treatment can actually be burnt.
  • Pregnant or menstruating women should not receive a cupping therapy treatment.
Can Cupping Therapy be Beneficial for Baby Boomers?

There is evidence that cupping therapy does seem to work for certain people. Take Michael Phelps for example. He is not supposed to be able to swim the way he does, at his age, also he competes against the top swimmers in the world. Of course he is in tip top shape.

closeup of cupping

It is not likely that, as long as the cupping therapy is administered by a qualified professional, no harm will come to us. So if we think that cupping therapy will help us feel better, and we can afford the treatments, I say go for it.

Of course, by reading this post, the chances of a positive placebo effect, may not be likely. Sorry about that.


That’s all I got for now. I don’t want to wear this cupping therapy thing out. I do want to hear from you if you have anything to add, or you disagree with any of my thoughts. You can leave your comments below.

Thank You


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kvimont Premium
Hey Darrel, I'm really not sure I want something on my body sucking all the blood to the surface, makes no sense to me. lol
darrellw Premium
Thank you for your comment, and I agree with you. I'm from the old school, and I'll probably never get into cupping.
Thank you for your interest.
JudeP Premium
This would be better placed on your website to be honest :)
darrellw Premium
Hi Jude. This post is on my website. I just thought I might share it on WA. I hope that is okay.
darrellw Premium
Thank you sasplund, for taking a interest in this post.
Good luck here at WA.
sasplund Premium
Thanks. I saw it on the Olympics too but didn't really know anything about it. Very thorough.