Cupping (Ba Huo Guan)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic treatment approach that originated over 2,000 years ago in China. It is usually associated with using natural herbs for healing remedies and acupuncture. One of the most common forms of treatment used in TCM is cupping. To learn more about cupping and how you can successfully implement it at your spa, keep reading.

What is cupping?

Cupping is a treatment that is offered in TCM where a therapist places a heated glass cup on the skin as a suction device. The upward pressure created in the cup lightly draws in the skin along with the superficial layer of muscles. Think of the opposite of massage, where gentle pressure is applied to pull muscles upward instead of applying direct pressure to the skin. This is a particularly relieving and relaxing feeling for most people. Just like acupuncture, a cupping treatment is targeted towards specific acupressure points. Through targeting these key channels in the body, cupping opens up these paths resulting in energy and life flowing more freely. Cupping can also be applied to any other part of the body that is currently experiencing pain since it is a highly efficient form of deep-tissue therapy. In order to create the suction, the therapist must heat the cup. The cup is normally heated by putting a flammable substance like alcohol, paper, or herb, which is then lit up and quickly placed on the patient’s skin after the fire has been put out. In the past, bamboo was used to make suction cups, but today you can use more convenient options like plastic and glass.

What are the benefits of cupping?

The negative pressure and suction provided by cupping makes it a safe alternative medicine option for eliminating skin toxins. It loosens muscles, improves blood circulation and also has a general relaxation effect on the body. Here are some of the main health benefits of cupping:

  • It reduces pain and inflammation
  • It relieves the stiffness that comes with severe back pain
  • It improves blood flow in the body
  • It helps with various conditions like respiratory conditions like colds, coughs and allergies
  • It improves skin health by removing toxins

Why include cupping in your spa menu?

Spa managers may consider including cupping into their spa menus because of the following key reasons.

  • It gives your spa or overall brand an international perspective since cupping is a reputable therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • It also enables your spa to offer a more holistic, all-inclusive wellness service.
  • Cupping has recently even been included in physical therapies, particularly for improving general wellbeing following intense training sessions.

Tips for successfully integrating cupping into your spa offerings

Here are a few tips to help you successfully integrate cupping into your spa menu:

  • It can be offered on its own as a full body treatment option or used to upsell massage therapy.
  • You can also introduce it as a treatment of the month, in which all your spa therapists promote it to your clients.
  • If you have an F&B outlet, you can create a dedicated package that combines a certain cuisine and the cupping treatment.
  • Always ensure you use the results-based cupping benefits for marketing, like the fact that one cupping treatment is equal to around three sessions of standard pressure point therapy.
  • Cupping also offers international brands the opportunity to gain better global exposure for both their guests and employees.



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