Dry cupping is a manual therapy that involves positioning a cup on the skin and creating a vacuum to apply negative pressure. This negative pressure increases blood flow to the area. Dry cupping can be done with either a heated cup that creates a vacuum as it cools, or a simple system involving a cup and a manual hand pump, which creates the negative pressure once the cup is applied. Dry cupping can either be done with a physical therapist or at home, using kits that may be purchased for a small amount Cups remain on the skin for between five and ten minutes, after which they are carefully removed.
Side effects of dry cupping are minimal and include temporary, raised red circles on the skin, slight swelling, and sometimes a mild pinching sensation as the vacuum applies negative pressure.
It’s important to apply the cups only to soft tissue, not bone. It’s also important not to leave the cups on the skin for extended periods to avoid skin damage or broken capillaries. Cupping isn’t recommended as a treatment for pregnant women, individuals with deep vein thrombosis, conditions that cause broken or irritated skin, or individuals with certain types of spreading cancers