What is Hot Cupping?

It is an ancient medical therapy called cupping, which has similarities to acupuncture.

Is it a popular alternative treatment?

It’s true they are the height of fashion. Other celebrity devotees of cupping include former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, model Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow and television presenter Donna Air.

How does Hot Cupping work?

The therapy involves placing glass cups over acupuncture points to create a vacuum. This is supposed to aid circulation and help detoxify the body.

What is the theory behind this therapy?

The theory behind cupping is that we all have two long strings of lymph glands running down either side of the spine, which get clogged with toxins. This makes our bodies perform less efficiently. Slapping glass cups on the skin- heated to starve them of oxygen so that they create a vacuum-encourages these poisons to get sucked out expelled into the bloodstream or excreted.

What’s the cost of the Hot Cupping? Is it expensive?

Cupping tends to cost £40 to £50 a session–lasting from half an hour to 40 minutes. The number of sessions needed is determined by the therapist. Discount will be applied to OAP and to those with a law income.

What is the feeling of being cupped?

The treatment is not painful, but may be uncomfortable for some. It is a bit like being attacked by a giant octopus. It is suction, so it can be an uncomfortable sensation. Some people say it is rather like having a deep tissue massage–uncomfortable at time, but you feel brilliant after.

Who benefits from the therapy?

All individual male or female, young or old should benefit from the therapy. Children as young as 2 years old, can benefit from these excellent treatment methods, for example children suffering from asthma, or allergies can successfully be treated by cupping therapy.

Is there any benefit of applying cupping on acupuncture points?

In the Journal of Biomechanics (2005), researchers L. M. Thama, H. P. Leea, and C. Lua state that “Cupping is known to be effective alternative to needles in stimulating acupoints in acupuncture treatment. One of the major advantages must be that transmission of blood-borne diseases can be avoided since the skin is not penetrated.”
Therefore we can use cupping as an alternative to acupuncture, or in conjunction with it. Many researchers have investigated and demonstrated the benefits of cupping and I think that it will be the most used alternative medical practice very soon.

Initial Consultation

During your first consultation you will be asked to describe in detail what is troubling you. You will be asked about your symptoms and any treatment or medication you are having. A detailed case history will be taken to assess how the whole of your body functions, including your medical history and any family history of illness. You will also be asked to talk about your energy levels, sleep patterns, diet, exercise, lifestyle and emotional state. The quality of your pulses on each wrist and the appearance of your tongue will be noted. From this information a diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis will be formulated.


Treatment involves the insertion of fine, single-use, sterile and disposable needles into acupuncture points on channels, just under the skin. Acupuncture needles are substantially finer than needles used for injections or blood tests. When inserted the needle sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Acupuncture may be combined with other associated methods of treatment such as moxibustion (the application of warmth to the points) or acupressure massage. Prior to treatment you should avoid alcohol, make sure you have eaten and try not to be over tired. Some people can feel drowsy after treatment in which case you are advised not to drive straight away. Occasionally symptoms get worse after a treatment before getting better; this is usually a good sign. It is important to feedback responses to treatment.

Patient care

Before treatment the procedure will be explained to you. Any changes or new treatment methods will also be explained as they arise. Your decision to proceed or not will be respected, a patient cannot be treated without their consent. When appropriate, patients are supported in understanding the nature of their illness and how to take care of their health. This often involves advice about aspects of diet, exercise and lifestyle. Acupuncture is generally very safe; serious side effects are extremely rare (less than one per 10,000 treatments).

Duration and frequency of appointments

The first consultation (including treatment) may take one and a half to two hours. Each subsequent treatment lasts 45-60 minutes. Treatments are usually arranged once or occasionally twice, a week to start with. The rate of improvement depends on the condition for which you are seeking treatment, the length of time you have been unwell, your overall energy and any factors in your life or environment that may be affecting your health.

Should my doctor know?

If you are seeing your doctor or hospital consultant it makes sense to tell them that you are having acupuncture. Often it can be useful for an acupuncturist, with their patient’s consent, to be in touch with the doctor. For example, if you are taking medication (other than drugs that cannot be replaced) acupuncture treatment can reduce or eliminate your need for this. If so, your doctor may need to be involved in any change of medication. Please tell your acupuncturist if you:

  • Are taking any medication, especially anti-coagulants
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Have had lymph nodes or varicose veins removed
  • Have ever experienced a faint, ‘funny turn’ or fit
  • Have a pacemaker or other electrical implants have damaged heart valves or any other particular risks of infection