Updated: April 24, 2016

Raise your hand if you’ve tried cupping.

WAIT, if your hand isn’t raised you HAVE TO TRY IT.

This is legit no bullshit, I’m in love.

Chinese cupping is CRAZY. In all the best ways.

First thing’s first, what the hell is cupping?

Well “cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin; practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat ( fire ) or mechanical devices. Through either heat or suction, the skin is gently drawn upwards by creating a vacuum in a cup over the target area of the skin. The cup stays in place for five to fifteen minutes. It’s believed by some to help treat pain, deep scar tissues in the muscles & connective tissue, muscle knots, and swelling; however, the efficacy of this has been questioned.There is reason to believe the practice dates from as early as 3000 BC.” { via }

MAN. Let me confirm…it most certainly does encourage blood flow.

And of course, I have a story…well, kind of.

My acupuncturist convinced me to try Chinese cupping two months ago.

Immediately I loved it. I totally got it, you know? My body was eating it up.

Here’s a peek from my Snapchat:


If that first experience was not enough, wait until you guys hear the spider bite story.

A month ago I was bit on my back by a nasty spider ( EW, kill me ). The spider bite was red for literally two months, no joke.

Well last week, IMMEDIATELY after cupping ( like a second after ), the spider bite turned from red to COMPLETE BLACK.

And then three days later it was gone………

The acupuncturist informed me that this was the toxins coming out of the skin.


SO now, even though I’m grossed out, I’m actually secretly intrigued. Imagine me, IMMEDIATELY LIKE OOOOOMGG, I have to share this on The Skinny Confidential.

Makes sense though. For two months the bite had nowhere to go. So it sat there, all stagnant. After the lymphatic flush & pulling-kind of stimulation, it came out (??) of my skin. Because of Chinese cupping.


So what does it feel like during the process?

Kind of like a tight sensation but oddly also really, really good. Sort of like decompression. My body ATE it up.

Think of cupping like an inverse massage. Instead of a ton of pressure, the suction pulls the skin/tissue/muscles upward & outward.

& yes, you bruise. Only for a few days though. Which is weirdly cool in some sort of F-ed up way. Like I wore backless shirts because I felt very Hollywood in some kind of way.

According to this source “cupping has numerous benefits— it can help remove toxins from the body & stimulate the flow of fresh blood, lymph, & Qi to the affected area and throughout the body.

It often works wonders for patients with the flu, colds, coughs, back and muscle pain, poor circulation, anxiety, red itchy skin conditions ( though cups are not applied to inflamed areas ), allergies, fevers, aches, & a myriad of other pains.

As the name implies, in this method your practitioner applies massage oil or cream on your skin in selected places, puts the cups over the areas to be treated and then slides them around that region of the body— most commonly the back. The cups slide easily because the cream has lubricated your body.

Ultimately you ought to consider exploring the benefits of cupping ESPECIALLY if you seek relief from stress, pain, allergies, fatigue, flu, colds, back pain, anxiety, muscle aches, red itchy skin conditions or fever.”

By the way the whole thing takes like 5 minutes. SO EASY, it was like $28 dollars too.

Also, note: Gwyneth, Jen, TONS of athletes including Laird Hamilton swear by it. Really though, athletes ALL over the world are serial cuppers. Especially in Beijing, China.

Have you ever cupped? Thoughts? Concerns? Weigh in.

My overall opinion: all in all? Very much worth it.

By the way, I seriously like how the bruising looks kind of— is this crazy?


But what the hell else is new.

– lauryn x

+ as always consult a doctor if you have questions | if you’re pregnant, avoid cupping.
  • I’m chinese and my mum used to do it whenever I had a cold or the flu when I was little. It helps a lot, I always felt better right after. She was worried though that my gym teacher or my class mates would think I got abused at home because of the bruising, hahah.
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  • That sounds so interesting…I am willing to try anything that helps with pain and fatigue! I have never had much luck with acupuncture, but maybe this would be better!!
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  • My massage therapist usually does a cupping treatment depending on how my back is looking that week and it is seriously amazing – I think it has great results but I definitely know people who have tried it who said it didn’t make any difference at all. But how crazy is that spider bite?!


  • Been super interested in hearing more about this. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

    -Nicole @

  • Do the cups only go on the back? I run a lot and feel like having the work done on my legs would be best to increase blood flow and reduce muscle pain there. Thanks for sharing the price! I definitely thought it would’ve cost more.
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    • I’ve done cupping before and she not only did my back, but legs and neck too. It was pretty amazing!

  • Cupping is great, I deal with scary tight muscles and sometimes that the only thing that gets them to let go! As for bruises, during bikini season you get a lot of odd looks and questions about what happened to you!!
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  • I am SO glad you posted this! I have been absolutely dying to try cupping but have been putting it off due to the bruising…..but this just gave me the push to go ahead and try it!
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  • Where did you go? I live in North Park, I just stated looking around and there are so many places Any recommendations? I have back pain and the worst allergies, always looking for new ways to help my body heal itself.

  • I actually just saw the Under Armour commercial with Michael Phelps (Have you seen it yet? You will LOVE – CRAZY inspiring) and for a brief second, it shows him getting cupped.

    To be quite honest, I never really understood it but now thanks to TSC it makes all the sense in the world. I also LOVE that you rocked the backless shirts afterwards! I actually think for those with office jobs where we are literally sitting for like, half a day, cupping would be great for that also. Thanks for the great post, Lauryn – looking for a cuppist (??) in SF as I type! x Shannon

    PS – here is the link to the commercial I mentioned, I seriously think you will LOVE.
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  • Jen

    First off, OMG sorry you got bitten, that is awful! And second, this sounds amazing. I have to try it. :)
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  • So happy you’re bringing awareness to Chinese medicine! 😀 I’m a TCM student currently and love seeing people who love it! As a random side note, technically the circles are not bruises actually! They are similar to a hickey and are a diagnostic tool for practitioners! The darker the area= the more stagnation in that part of the body- very interesting! It’s important to note they shouldn’t be sore to the touch like a bruise! Thank you for spreading the word on a truly magical medicinal practice. Love when you share about the benefits of acupuncture and cupping xx

  • I’m so glad you shared your experience…I’ve been thinking about trying it. Austin grew up with holistic practices and actually has done it and LOVES it. Says it works wonders. Definitely want to give it a try. How insane is your spider bite story!? Proof!! Happy Wednesday love! XO

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  • Oh my god! I need to try this! I have never heard of it before but it sounds freaking amazing! & eww about the spider bite!! So gross! But I am so glad cupping helped making it go away. Thanks for always sharing such great posts, Lauryn!
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  • OMG I would have freaked out seeing that spider bite turn black but what an amazing example of just how beneficial cupping can be! I’ve personally never tried it but have friends who have and swear by it. It’s definitely something I’m going to continue to look into :)
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  • Do you see someone in San Diego for this??

  • Not sure if my comment went through! Do you have someone in San Diego you see? Also, does someone in San Diego do your hair or do you have it done in LA? Thanks!

    • Yes! I go to Taylor at FIX in Hillcrest, CA.

      I go to Shawn at DryBar in SD and Tauni at 901 in LA for hair! x

  • I have to be honest and say that it scares me a bit. I mean it looks like it hurt you quite a bit. Bruising means that some tissue is damaged right? I don’t I completely believe you but am equally scared of it 😉 Thanks for sharing though! <3
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  • Love this post! Part of healing my gut was cupping and I haven’t found anyone here in Vegas but when I was in Thailand I did it all the time! Thanks for sharing your journey xo C
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  • I tried cupping when I was struggling with chronic headaches and I don’t really understand it but it definitely helped!
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    • Olivia Schwister

      I was hoping someone would comment that it helped their headaches. I get chronic headaches/migraines every single day. So you really feel like the cupping helped or at least gave you some relief?

  • OMG! I have never been so curious!! The idea of this still makes me squirm, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to make yourself bruise… Are the spots sore afterward?? Like pretty sensitive?? How long did the marks stay on your back?

  • I’ve always wondered about this and what all the benefits are. Thanks for informing me! Love your blog!!

  • Do the bruises hurt? Looks kinda like paintball bruises and those are painful!


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  • This sounds so strange, but also so interesting! Would definitely give it a try!
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  • This looks ridiculous and awesome. I’m down– any idea where to go in NYC?

  • I’ve done cupping before and it was amazing! Reading this makes me want to schedule another appointment now!! When I got mine done she moved the cups along my back while they were suctioned, it’s a strange sensation, but also feels really good. The marks let behind aren’t actually “bruises”. I know the darker in color of the mark means the more toxins were in that area and moved to the surface.

  • Haha, so I remember doing this for my mom when I was like 9 years old and then when I started hearing about it last year, I realize that was the name for it. She always made me do it and I was always so scared I would burn the house down. I’ve never had it done to myself. . .but I think it’s so interesting and fun that eastern medicine traditions are finding its way into the States!


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  • Even Michael Phelps does cupping (seen in the new UA ad

  • Huge huge fan of cupping! I am so down with any alternative form of medicine there is out there, and I just have to be sure to really time the cupping right so when I get it I don’t have the marks all public.

    So key – just make sure to know what to tell people when they ask! Ha
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  • Sonia

    Yes! I’ve been doing Cupping since I was 3 years old and my parents used to have the nuns from our local church in Poland come do it whenever I got sick so that I would get better more quickly. Now I do it with a combo a few other things for chronic neck and back pain. I always tell people that for me its like getting 5 massages in a row. I adore it. Also, if you haven’t tried Gua Sha yet, ask your acupuncturist about that as well. It looks like you have a lot of stagnation in your back given how purple those bruises are and, paired with cupping therapy, Gua Sha will open you right up. Its incredible! And it doesn’t hurt- I promise! Thanks for sharing! I’m always trying to convince everyone I know to try Cupping!

  • Dear Lauren,
    This sounds amazing for my mom who suffers from Lupus and always has horrible muscle pain. She’s basically tried everything under the sun with little success. Where did you go and get yours done??
    Much love,

  • I LOVE cupping! I am studying naturopathic medicine and have my own set of cups. I practice on my fiance all the time :)
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  • Where do you go for acupuncture and cupping? I just moved to San Diego from LA and I’m totally lost!

    • At FIX in Hillcrest from Taylor : ) x

  • This is crazy! I’ve heard about it, but it looks so painful!

  • Does it hurt? I’m super interested in getting it done but I’m a whimp with pain :)

    • Not at all! Feels good actually.

  • I wish we had a place around here that does it. Is it safe to do from home? Best method? I currently have strep and would love to add cupping into my “get better soon” routine 😛
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  • Awesome, I’ll have to try it. Natural healing is always better

  • we have home use high transparent cupping cups,safe and easy to you interested in it?you can contact me by ,thanks!

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  • We do this also at our place , dry cupping, love this post as it explains to others what cupping is all about. Get information to anyone looking for a cupping massage. If your canada look us up

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