Common side effects of cupping therapy: what you need to know


Cupping therapy side effects are not often discussed, but it is important to be aware of them before beginning treatment. Cupping therapy is a form of alternative medicine that has been used for centuries in different cultures. While it can be beneficial in treating certain conditions, there are also potential side effects associated with it. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the common cupping therapy side effects and explain what you need to know before beginning treatment.

Common side effects of cupping therapy

Cupping therapy has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its many benefits. However, it’s important to understand that like any other medical treatment, there can be side effects associated with cupping therapy. Here are some of the most common side effects that you should be aware of:

1- Bruising and skin irritation

One of the most common side effects of cupping therapy is bruising and skin irritation. This happens because the suction of the cups causes the blood vessels in the skin to expand and rupture. While this can be an uncomfortable experience, it is not usually dangerous and should heal on its own within a few days.

Bruising can vary in severity and may appear as dark or light purple discoloration on the skin. Skin irritation can present as redness, itching, or raised bumps. Both of these side effects are usually more pronounced in individuals with sensitive skin or those who are more prone to bruising.

To help reduce the likelihood of bruising or skin irritation, it is recommended to avoid cupping therapy on areas of the body where the skin is already damaged or injured. It is also important to properly clean the skin before and after the therapy to minimize the risk of infection.

If you experience severe or persistent bruising or skin irritation, it is important to seek medical attention to rule out any underlying health issues or complications. Overall, while bruising and skin irritation are common side effects of cupping therapy, they are usually temporary and can be managed with proper aftercare.

2- Dizziness or lightheadedness

Another common side effect of cupping therapy is dizziness or lightheadedness. This may happen during or after a cupping session, especially if you are not properly hydrated. When cupping therapy is performed, it can increase blood flow to certain areas of the body, causing a temporary drop in blood pressure.

If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness during or after cupping therapy, it’s important to inform your therapist immediately. They can adjust the pressure or duration of the treatment to make you feel more comfortable.

It’s also important to drink plenty of water before and after your cupping therapy session. Staying hydrated can help prevent dizziness and lightheadedness, as well as other potential side effects of cupping therapy.

If you have a history of low blood pressure or fainting, you should talk to your healthcare provider before trying cupping therapy. They can help you determine if it’s safe for you and provide additional tips to help you avoid dizziness or lightheadedness.

3- Nausea or vomiting

While nausea and vomiting are not common side effects of cupping therapy, they can occur in some people. This is usually due to the body’s reaction to the suction and pressure applied during the treatment.

Nausea or vomiting

Cupping therapy can increase blood flow and release toxins from the body. This sudden shift in the body’s circulation can cause feelings of nausea or dizziness. It is also possible that the body may be releasing toxins that cause an upset stomach.

If you experience nausea or vomiting during or after a cupping therapy session, it is important to listen to your body. Rest and drink plenty of water to help your body eliminate toxins.

It is also recommended to inform your cupping therapist about any discomfort or unusual reactions during the session. They may adjust the suction or pressure to alleviate any discomfort.

If you have a history of motion sickness or are prone to nausea, it is important to inform your therapist beforehand. They may be able to offer some tips or modify the treatment to minimize any side effects.

In rare cases, nausea or vomiting may be a sign of a more serious medical condition. If these symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention immediately. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.

4- Headaches

Another possible side effect of cupping therapy is headaches. This is most commonly caused by the increase in blood flow to the head, which can sometimes result in pressure changes. While not everyone who undergoes cupping therapy will experience headaches, those who are prone to migraines or tension headaches may be more susceptible.


If you do experience headaches after cupping therapy, it’s important to take some time to rest and relax. Over-the-counter pain relief medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also be helpful in managing any discomfort. You may also find that applying a cold compress to your forehead can help to reduce the intensity of your headache.

If you experience headaches that are severe or persistent, it’s important to seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider can help to determine if there is an underlying condition that is contributing to your headaches, and recommend appropriate treatment.

5- Cupping burns

While cupping therapy can be a great way to relax and improve circulation, there is a small risk of developing cupping burns. These are burns that can occur when the cups used in the therapy are left on the skin for too long or the suction is too strong.

Cupping burns can range in severity from mild redness to painful blisters. If you do develop a cupping burn, it is important to take care of it properly to prevent infection and ensure proper healing.

To treat a cupping burn, start by gently cleaning the affected area with a mild soap and water. Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile bandage. You can also apply cool compresses to help reduce pain and inflammation.

In most cases, cupping burns will heal within a few days to a week. If you experience severe or persistent symptoms, or if the burn becomes infected, seek medical attention right away.

To prevent cupping burns, make sure you are working with a licensed and experienced therapist who uses proper cupping techniques. You should also make sure the cups are not left on the skin for too long and that the suction is not too strong.

6- Blood disorders and cupping therapy

While cupping therapy is generally considered safe, there are certain cases where it may not be appropriate. One such case is when an individual has a blood disorder, such as hemophilia or thrombocytopenia. These conditions can cause the blood to not clot properly, leading to excessive bleeding. Cupping therapy, which involves creating suction on the skin, can exacerbate this issue and cause further bleeding.

If you have a blood disorder, it’s important to consult with your doctor before trying cupping therapy. They can assess whether or not the treatment is safe for you and provide recommendations on alternative therapies if necessary. Additionally, it’s crucial to inform your cupping therapist about any blood disorders you may have before beginning treatment.

In some cases, a modified form of cupping therapy may be appropriate for those with blood disorders. This may involve using lighter suction or shorter treatment times to minimize the risk of bleeding. However, this should only be done under the supervision of a trained professional.

Safety tips for cupping therapy

While cupping therapy can offer many benefits, it is important to be aware of its potential side effects. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before and during a cupping therapy session:

  • Consult with a healthcare professional before trying cupping therapy. This is especially important if you have a medical condition, are pregnant, or are taking any medications.
  • Choose a qualified practitioner who has experience with cupping therapy. Make sure they have received proper training and are certified.
  • Discuss any concerns or questions you have with the practitioner before the session begins. They can help you understand the process and what to expect.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after the session to help flush out toxins and prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid cupping over broken or irritated skin, or on areas with varicose veins.
  • Start with a shorter session and gradually increase the time as your body adjusts to the therapy.
  • Be aware of your body’s reactions during the session. If you experience discomfort or severe side effects, let the practitioner know immediately.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or activity after a cupping session, and allow your body time to rest and recover.

By following these safety tips, you can reduce the risk of side effects and ensure a positive cupping therapy experience.


Cupping therapy can be an effective way to alleviate pain and other health conditions. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential side effects and take necessary precautions to minimize their risks. With proper care and guidance, cupping therapy can be a safe and beneficial practice.

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