LHB Blog

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Chinese Cupping Therapy

Alternative title: Because sometimes going to the GP’s office becomes lot like listening to a broken record … While smashing your head on the table next to the record player. 

During my last GP appointment I mentioned that my Migraines have been flaring a lot more than usual and wondered if there was something else we could try  … Unfortunately it appears I have worked my way through the majority of the drugs they offer and those that remain are in the groups that I am known to react to. Brilliant. Just freaking brilliant.

Once again I am left with cocodamol or spork … My choice. I should point out that neither were particularly useful when I hurled my guts at work and couldn’t figure out the way back to my desk during a delightful Migraine attack. I had to be driven home by the boss! Again! Just ugh.

It feels like I have no control over my body and/or brain with my various ailments and my constant reliance on pure medicine is proving … Underwhelming. So, this is a “why the hell not” to trying complementary/alternative/holistic medicines alongside …

So, what is cupping I hear you ask? Well, in a nutshell, a cup is placed onto the skin and creates a vacuum (this can be done either by heating then cooling the cup or by a mechanical pump) resulting in skin being partially sucked into the cup. Sounds delightful doesn’t it?!

Why you ask? … Basically they work on the meridian lines within the body known for controlling the flow of Qi (chi). By applying cups to certain acupuncture points it’s possible to remove stagnant blood, lymph, toxins and Qi … Who wouldn’t want to remove that! … This also stimulates the flow of fresh blood, lymph and Qi! Win-win!

In my session we were working on the meridian lines on my back associated with Anxiety, Depression and Hypothyroidism. I have to confess the whole thing sounded a little … Peculiar. But I shrugged, whipped my top off and face planted on the bed (which is exactly what I did when I got a back tattoo and the artist told me about how many times he’d pierced his bits-and-bobs out of sheer boredom at 4am that morning … Story for another day perhaps). By the way, how weird are the therapy/massage beds? Face all smushed into that cushioned head rest thing! Very odd.

My therapist applied a massage oil before heating up the glass cups (with fire! How freaking cool is that?! FIRE!) and placing them onto my skin. Only one of the cups was fixed throughout the session (the one at the base of the neck as she believed this area would be choc full of stagnant crap and was contributing to Migraines*) the rest were moved after a couple of minutes. I remember my therapist saying we were focusing on the Kidney Meridian as that has a role in endocrine function (*ahem* Thyroid *ahem*) but she was talking about the Anxiety/Depression side during the massage portion of it so my body and brain were literally focused on the sensation (I legit could have slept I was so chilled at that point)! Promise I’ll take a note book to my next session to get the details on that bit.

So if you’ve got this far you’re probably wondering how it actually felt? To be honest, I half expected a ‘shhhlup’ sound when the skin was sucked into the cup … I was disappointed that there wasn’t! What there was, was a tightening feeling – it wasn’t uncomfortable or painful as such and to me it felt pretty good!

Obviously this would be unique to each person as I’ve been told that some find it painful, others find it uncomfortable, others find it ticklish in places (totally guilty of that one) it’s all about your own body and how it feels.

And my body freaking loved it!

I can’t say it’s worked one way or the other after just one session (as that would be foolish)… So I’ve booked in for another round!



Fresh from the therapist’s office! (If you want to keep up to date with my adventures away from the blog you can do on my Insta! Though I can’t promise that there will be more pics of me bra-less, pretty sure this is strictly a one off!)


So lovelies, have you ever tried any holistic/alternative medicines for your ailments? Did they work or were they an utter disaster?

R x

*We are revisiting the Migraines at the next session as my therapist believes they would respond better to Acupuncture and Electro-Acupuncture Therapy – which I am totally excited to try out!


Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden (#LHB_Travels)


Turmeric Milk!


  1. Good for you trying alternative approaches. I think the most alternative I have gone, is Oestopathy for my daughter when she was a few months old and really stuggling to sleep. I’ve luckily never really had a need to try any alternative therapies, but I’d be totally up for it if I did. I think its so interesting how these things work and cant wait to hear how you get on with your next session! Emily #BloggerClubUK

    • Ruebi

      Awww thank you Emily, will definitely keep you updated! I think I just reached a point where I felt as though I wasn’t doing anything but rely on GP’s, as though my health was solely in their hands and it made me feel helpless. At least with trying these different things (even if they don’t work) I feel as though I’m trying to do something, I feel like I have a bit of control back.

  2. I’d love to give this a go!


    • Ruebi

      I have to stress that it’s not for everyone … But I loved it! Definitely felt more relaxed afterwards (especially in my neck and shoulders).

  3. Jo (Mother of Teenagers)

    The after effect looks worse than you described it and I have to confess I was expecting you to say it was burning and it made a squelching sound. I am not great follower of alternative remedies and ashamedly am quick to grab a neurofen if in pain. I am non a migraine sufferer but my sister is wiped out for days with them so please report back on whether the cupping works for you, I would be interested to know. #bloggerclubuk

    • Ruebi

      The after effects were a little scary looking and I’m surprised it didn’t hurt! There was just a little soreness as I would expect with any bruising. At the moment I’m still getting Migraines (same frequency/intensity) but to be honest I didn’t think one session would make much of a difference, the second session is coming up shortly so I guess it’s a waiting game to see. I can totally relate to your sister’s experience of them, it’s horrible just having the pain from it but the losing of days can leave a horrible feeling too … I’ve had the diagnosis for 16 years and it still throws me every time.

  4. I have heard so many good things about this technique but does look very painful #weekendblogshare

    • Ruebi

      It does have the shock factor I have to say … I hid it under t-shirts for a bit after a woman prodded the back of my neck after a gym class (my vest top showed quite a bit of it). It didn’t hurt though, which is a blessing! Well … It didn’t until she prodded me.

  5. I’ve never had the chance to try cupping – my worry would be that I bruise really easily and I’d end up with nasty bruises because of this.



    • Ruebi

      I’ll be honest, I did bruise worse than I expected I would and it took quite a while to calm down … Interesting experience though!

  6. Really interesting!

  7. I could probably try cupping before acupuncture…but I could really get behind a nice massage 🙂

    I hope this works on your migraines!!!!

    • Ruebi

      This the first time I’ve ever had a massage! Can you believe it?! Will have to try one without cups at some point! 🙂

  8. Wowzer! They are impressive bruises. I’ve tried accupuncture and see my
    Chiropractor often but have never tried cupping. I’d be interested to see how you go. I’m lucky that those migraine tablets from the gp that melt on your tongue really help me. Thank you for joining the #weekendblogshare

    • Ruebi

      I used to have a tablet from the GP that melted on your gum, but it was to combat the nausea more than anything. I recently got told to stick with cocodamol as it won’t interact with Mirtazapine (for Depression) … Unfortunately the majority of the time that doesn’t work 🙁 Do you find acupuncture helps? I can’t wait to try it out!

  9. This is such an interesting post. I’m thinking about trying this for migraines, too. Just wondering – have you had any more cupping treatments since you wrote this, and did you find your migraines lessened?

    • Ruebi

      Hi Ruth – I had about 4 treatments and I’ll be honest, the Migraines didn’t lessen. They were just as severe as they always have been. It was relaxing for my body, but not for my mind it seems. Though I have talked to other people who have said it has worked for them, so who knows.

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