Cupping was used in Mesopotamia as early as 3300 BC, and later in Egypt around 2200 BC. Some 2000 years later, the Greeks and Romans also made use of cupping therapy.

The photo on the left shows Hilda Leskinen of Finland giving a cupping session in 1927.

Hippocrates (460-359 BC) used cupping, mainly for treating pain and infections, and in gynecology. His theory was that cupping could be used to draw out disease- causing (pathogenic) substances from specific areas of the body, as well as from internal organs. The basis of his work involved the directing and stimulation of natural cleansing of the body. Paracelsus (16th century) also used cupping. Cupping was introduced in the Netherlands by Boerhaave.

The effects of cupping

Cupping increases the flow of blood to the skin, without damaging the skin. The body then goes about repairing the bruising that this causes. This results in an increase in blood circulation and a strong activation of the lymph glands, which results in a thorough cleansing. This effect carries on through to the underlying muscles and bone membranes, and brings about an increase in oxygen levels and nutriment in the tissues.

The cup itself works by heating it from within, which decreases the air pressure inside it.  It is then immediately placed on the skin, creating a vacuum inside the cup. This draws out blood from the veins with a bruise with a pale or reddish purple discoloration appearing within a few seconds. The degree of discoloration indicates a slowing down of the blood flow. The bruise causes protein deterioration, which results in the onset of phagocytosis, which then activates the immune system.

How can cupping help?

  • With pain, particularly muscle pain and joint complaints, as well as arthrosis 
  • By bringing energy tension into balance
  • By relieving lower back pain which may be caused, for example, by prolapse of the bladder or uterus
  • With an inadequate circulation in connective tissue
  • With cramps, rheumatic complaints, nerve pain and ‘knots’ in shoulder muscles
  • As added relaxation during a massage
  • With migraines, impaired hearing, dizziness and buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • With asthma and bronchitis 
  • With stomach and intestinal cramps and kidney stones and gallstones
  • With tonsillitis, struma (swelling of thyroid gland) and sore throat

For several hours after the treatment you may experience reactions such as, headache, fatigue or even greater than usual energy. It’s best to take it a bit easy after a treatment and give your body the opportunity to recover.

At Natural Health Amsterdam you can make an appointment for a cupping session.