What is fire cupping?

Fire cupping is an ancient practice rooted in Chinese Medicine. Dating back to ancient civilizations, cupping has been a revered therapy, believed to balance the body’s vital energy, or Qi. Originally using animal horns, bamboo, or glass, today’s fire cupping utilizes glass cups and the warmth of fire to create a therapeutic vacuum.


Cupping in the modern Western world is now a modality often used by other allied health professionals. However, these types of providers are not typically trained in the art of fire cups and use silicone or suction pumps to create the vacuum. This type of cupping can still be effective, though missing the additional effect of warmth and does not allow for some cupping techniques unique to fire cupping.


At Ikigai Wellness cupping may be included as part of your acupuncture session or done on its own.

Fire cupping vs other types of cupping

Some major difference between fire cupping and cupping using silicone cups or suction pumps:

Warmth from the fire which creates the suction helps soothe muscles and allows the blood vessels to dilate, encouraging more blood flow to the area.

The use of fire to create the suction allows us to do techniques such as flash cupping (seen on the right)

The use of fire allows us to have precise control over the level of suction that is created compared to silicone or pump cups.

Benefits of cupping

Cupping has many healing benefits for the body. It was made popular by Michael Phelps many years ago and has become popular by athletes and fitness enthusiasts for quicker recovery from intense workouts. Who doesn’t want one less day of soreness? Cupping is also great to:

Image of patient on a massage table with 3 glass cups on their back. Provider is placing a fourth cup.
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