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Cupping Therapy

Updated on April 24, 2013
Different types of cups used in Cupping Therapy
Different types of cups used in Cupping Therapy

Cupping is a form of massage therapy which is performed by applying a partial vacuum created in cup or cups, either by heat or by suction. The surface of human body responds by bulging into the vacuum cup.

The process apparently increases blood flow to the area but it is hard to define how it works in treating numerous medical disorders. May be it works through the body’s reaction to cure the sore marks left out by cups which may trigger the production of certain healthy hormones etc. But the exact mode of action of its curative process is not yet discovered by modern science like in the case of acupuncture. As a matter of fact the points where cups are placed in present day cupping therapy are the same as that of acupuncture.

The idea that I managed to conceive is that when the sore marks are created artificially by cupping, they actually send out a message to the body's own immune/resistance system that enormous disease and swelling has taken place. In other words the sore marks actually emulate disease / inflammation condition. In response; the body produces anti inflammatory/curing hormones like "cortisone" etc. Since the swelling caused by cupping is temporary and automatically subsides in 20 minutes, the curative hormones are left unutilized in the blood stream. These unutilized harmones are then utilized in treating inflammation/disease condition elsewhere in the body. But this is my personal viewpoint.

Another possibility is that its mode of action could be metaphysical in nature and thus impossible to prove by science as we know it. What we know for sure is that therapists all over the world who are applying it on their patients found it very useful in a number of medical disorders (the list of which is pasted at the end of the article). Therefore, this art of medical therapy must be revived in order to explore and utilize its full potential.

Narrated AbuHurayrah: “The Prophet (May peace_be_upon_him) said: The best medical treatment you apply is “Cupping”. (Book #28, Hadith #3848)

Cupping is the only form of physiotherapy to my knowledge, which the Prophet (PBUH) advised. Here it should be noted that, he did not advise it for any particular medical disorder but generally declared it as best medical treatment, which means that it may be a remedy for numerous disorders. It is mentioned along with Honey in some hadith which is a clear evidence of its broad spectrum benefits like the honey. Strangely enough, it is practiced all over the world and getting popular but the Muslims at large are unaware of this advice of their Prophet including myself up till lately. Cupping is mentioned in more than two dozen hadiths in four hadith books alone.

By writing this article, I have no intention to discredit other modern therapies, as the Prophet(PBUH) may have advised out of the existing remedies practiced during his time. What I have tried to emphasize here is; that we must not ignore this important piece of information, told to us by our Prophet (PBUH) who happens to be a messenger of Allah and thus, a source of divine knowledge.

The history of cupping goes back to some 3500 years to ancient Egypt and some 2500 years to ancient China. Cupping was popular even in Europe but after the advent of modern allopathic medicine, cupping became out of fashion. Luckily it has been getting great popularity in North America along with other forms of holistic medicine in recent years and people are exploring its magical curative properties.

Today it is practiced by selective massage therapists all over the world and is widely considered as a Chinese form of medical treatment instead of ancient Egyptian. In my view, it must have come from one of the Messengers of Allah Almighty but that is my personal view.

It is said to have been historically performed with the help of animal horns instead of glass cups used today, over specific areas of the body. The partial vacuum was created inside the hollow horns, with the flame of an oil lamp, which burns the air inside it. It is then immediately placed over the body at specific locations.

Massage Therapists all over the United States and Canada are learning about this amazingly effective therapy and using it to treat their clients and achieve effects that are cumulative, long lasting and many therapists report their results as being "miraculous".


In Bukhari Sharif alone, there are 12 hadith which speak of cupping.

In Muslim Sharif, it is mentioned in 4 hadith

In Sunan Abudawud- 5 hadith

In Malik’s Muwatta- 4 hadith

The above references were taken from


Following is a list of medical conditions in which cupping is said to be beneficial according to modern research but we can’t be sure if the list is full and final.

· · Colds and Influenza

· · Headaches

· · Abscesses

· · Arthritis

· · Intercostal Neuralgia

· · Rheumatism

· · High blood pressure

· · Arteriosclerosis

· · Bronchial asthma & Congestion

· · Gastric pain

· · Dispels colds

· · Menopausal discomforts

· · Chronic gastric pain

· · Liver disorders

· · Gallbladder disorders

· · Dermatological disorders

· · Anxiety/Depression/Insomnia

· · Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

· · Hemorrhoids

· · Post-injury trauma

· · Stroke

· · Post surgery adhesions

· · Gynecological disorders

· · Kidney disorders including frequent urination

· · Respiratory infections

· · Vertigo

· · Activates the skin, clears stretch marks and wrinkles and improve varicose veins

· · Relieves symptoms such as stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea

· · Musculo- skeletal problems such as: spasms, pain, cramps, tightness,

numbness, stiffness of the back and neck.


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    • ARSHAD MAJID profile image

      ARSHAD MAJID 4 years ago

      Graham -- CS is a mechanical problem and a very common one, in which sometimes you have phases of neck pain, which can stay for a few weeks. I think a chiropractor is the best person in this case. They are trained to fix this mechanical problem by pushing the discs with thumb pressure. When you have pain, you tense the surrounding muscles which is the natural response of body to prevent further misalignment. So, they first warm the affected area to release muscular tension and then gently press specific disc with the objective or releasing pressure on surrounding nerves. In CS, the more you feel tense, the more you get pain. However; proper bed, proper work-station (in case you sit over computer for long periods of time), proper chair (with head rest and high arm rests) and especially the orthopedic pillow is very helpful.

    • profile image

      Graham 4 years ago

      Both my wife and myself have recently undergone Wet Cupping Therapy for the treatment of our cervical spondylisis, which the Doctor who used the treatment assured us would help with our pain management.

      Unfortunately, neither my wife or myself have felt any benefit... in spite of all the claims ... to my mind, it is just another placebo.


    • ARSHAD MAJID profile image

      ARSHAD MAJID 7 years ago

      I did reply to Saquib over e-mail but for others I like to say that each cup is different so it depends upon the cups that you are using as to how much time it should be applied for. Then there are sensitive skins, fat people etc. So, it is always better to find someone who is professional so that he takes into account other factors as well. Regarding stretching marks; definitely it will increase blood flow to the area and help.

    • profile image

      Saquib 7 years ago

      Thank you very much for the information; however if you could kindly answer:

      1. How long should the cup be on the skin before being removed?

      2. Will it get rid of stretch marks?

      3. Are there any side-effects?

      Thank you very much for this article. Please, my need is urgent.

      Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Arshad Majid 7 years ago

      Keith; thank you very much for posting a feed back.I wish I could find a site where people report their testimonials on Cupping Therapy. If you know about any such site, please do share it with me. God bless you .......Arshad

    • profile image

      Keith 7 years ago

      It is also done in Massachusetts.

      It works wonderfully to get rid of scars and stretchmarks as well as deep tissue release.

    • profile image

      naseer ghori 7 years ago

      good info. cupping is done in India, Hyderabad. visit, or call 00914064532222