• Kelly Goorts

The History of Cupping


I have summarized what Cupping is, what the marks mean that the cups leave on your skin and how it can help you relieve physical pain in my blog called "What are the 'Brusing' marks from Cupping?" - link here



Today I want to go back and explore the history of Cupping and showcase how it has been used for centuries even though it seems like a new holistic modality after gaining popularity in the media when Olympians and celebrities alike posted pictures with cup marks on their bodies...



I found an article written by Phil Romeril from 2019 that summed up the history of Cupping very well. He lists the conflicting opinions around who pioneered this ancient practice and how far back history shows the use of cupping as a modality of healing physical pain.


Below is a summary of what he found about each culture:

  • Egyptian - The Ebers Papyrus – one of the oldest medical textbooks – mentions the use of cupping by the ancient Egyptians for treating various ailments such as menstrual imbalances, weakened appetite, fever, vertigo and pain.

  • Chinese - evidence of the use of cupping therapy can be traced back to the early Han Dynasty. Ge Hong – a famous herbalist and alchemist during the Jin Dynasty believed that with “cupping and acupuncture combined, more than 1/2 of the ills can be cured”.

  • Greek - Hippocrates – who is regarded as the father of modern medicine, used cupping therapy for treating internal disease and structural problems.

  • Islamic - Famous Islamic physicians such as Al-Zahrawi (AD 936-1036), Ibn Sina (AD 980-1037), and Abu Bakr Al-Rizi (AD854-925) described cupping sites and illustrated cupping with diagrams in many of their literature.

  • Western - The practice of cupping spread to many European countries between the 14th and 17th centuries, particularly during the Renaissance era. It was regarded as the most popular treatment of arthritis and gout in Italy during this period. With the introduction of the newly established scientific model of medicine in the late 18th century, the popularity of cupping lessened.


What I take from this article has nothing to do with which culture founded cupping but that it works!


There is a reason so many cultures utilized it to help with pain treatment, there is a reason it has been around for centuries.

The basic philosophy of Cupping has and still is to strengthen or activate the body's natural self-healing powers, at times when they are not able to do so, on their own!

In the present day, with the increase in the popularity and demand of complementary and alternative therapies, more and more people are turning to holistic treatment options such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and cupping. Today, cupping therapy is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, particularly those that cause muscle aches and pains.


If you would like to read the full article you can do so here

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