Cupping Therapy In Ayurveda

Cupping or Shringa is mentioned in classics as a Yantra for Raktamokshana which is referred to as the horn of animals. A cupping instrument is a sucking equipment that works on the principle of negative pressure. The broad end of Shringa is applied on the surface of the skin and the other narrow end is used for sucking blood during the procedure of bloodletting. Negative pressure inside the Shringa is generated by sucking (mouth suction or with the help of a syringe) from the narrower end which tends to move blood into Shringa. This act of bloodletting through Shringa is called Sringavacharana.

Shringa Yantra is indicated for Vata Doshjanya Vikara majorly situated in Twak DhatuGau Shringa Yantra is having Ushana(warm), Madhura (sweet), and Snigdha(oily) Guna which is opposite to Vata Dosha, Vagbhattacharya mentioned the Pramana of ideal Shringa that have three Angula Pramana Mukha (broad end), 18 Angula length, tiny Sidhdharthak Pramana distally (narrow end) and having shape similar to the breast of lady.


The use of Shringa is not widely accepted as it is considered unethical in Hindu civilized society as well as according to PETA. Secondly, it is a biodegradable product so can’t be used for a longer duration. It is difficult to properly sterilize it regularly so can act as media to transfer infection from one individual to other. To withstand this problem, it is replaced with modifying Shringa Yantras (Chinese Cups), which are cost-effective, easily available, and can be sterilized easily.

The application of cups is preferred as a substitute for Shringa, the disposable ones are preferable a high-level sterilization or disinfection process is required before reuse, since the pressure exerted may cause extravasation of blood and fluids from the skin. Nowadays, cupping therapy has increasingly been performed with plastic cups. The size of the cups varies according to the place of application, but it is often applied in places with abundant muscles, such as the back

Cupping therapy is being in an application for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many chronic conditions, such as low back pain, chronic arthralgia, radiculopathy, and respiratory disease. This therapy involves the application of an s hollow vessel for suction (generally a cup) to an affected area on the skin, this area is called an Acu-point. There are many types of cupping are practiced in China. The basic suction method of cupping therapy is called retained cupping generally used in common Chinese clinics.


In this method, practitioners utilize the flaming heating power to create a suction (minus pressure) inside the cups at the desired area of the body. Cupping can broadly divide into two subtypes:

  • Dry – Applying Cups on Acu-points for some time
  • Wet cupping (with controlled bleeding)- Bleeding cupping (wet cupping), in which practitioners make some small incisions/pricks before the application of suction cups. Researchers suggest that laceration of the skin and capillaries, promoted by wet cupping, may act as another nociceptive stimulus that activates the descending inhibitory pathways of pain control, thus helping to treat chronic musculoskeletal conditions

Several other subtypes of the Cuppings are-

  1. Cupping with retention (keeping cups on the skin or Acu-puncture points for 10–15 min)
  2. Moving to cup (sliding cups over the skin or acupuncture points with lubricants)
  3. Shaking-cupping (moving cups up and down repeatedly on skin or acupuncture points)
  4. Quick cupping (removing cups immediately when the skin is sucked in)
  5. Balance-cupping (composite manipulation, each dose including cupping with retention 6–8 min, moving cupping four times, shaking-cupping three times, and quick-cupping three times).



Although its exact mechanism is not known. Cupping aims to precipitate the circulation of blood and remove blood stasis and waste from the body. It extracts blood that is believed to be harmful from the body that turn rids the body of potential harm from symptoms leading to a reduction in well-being. Wet cupping has been used as an alternative treatment method throughout the world, especially in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Blood flow is the key to healing the damaged area. Bulging discs do not receive good blood flow; as a known fact that blood carries oxygen and nutrients to supply the cells with energy and recovery. Therefore, when blood flow finds it difficult to reach these areas, the patient starts to face these painful problems.

For example, Hijama therapy can be effective in eliminating toxins and promoting good blood flow in a specific area. When negative pressure gets applied to the skin, different endorphins get triggered for recovery. Hijama has so many other benefits and this healing procedure has been practiced for thousands of years.

Wet cupping may act as a nociceptive stimulus, which would trigger diffuse noxious inhibitory control, or by the removal of oxidants, which would decrease oxidative stress. Nitrous oxide release, as shown in acupuncture, maybe also a theoretical mechanism of action. The short- and long-term effects of wet cupping may be explained by a combination of mechanisms, including the affective component of chronic pain

Benefits of Cupping:

  • It is also indicated for an array of respiratory, neurological, gastroenterological, and gynecological disorders.
  • According to Hanaway, Cupping Therapy is indicated for blood disorders, pain relief, inflammatory conditions, mental and physical relaxation, varicose veins, and deep tissue massage and quotes up to 50% improvement in fertility levels.
  • Cupping is an ancient method of treatment that has been used in the treatment of a broad range of conditions.
  • Conditions like blood diseases such as hemophilia and hypertension, rheumatic conditions ranging from arthritis, sciatica, back pain, migraine, anxiety, and general physical and mental well-being.
  • By creating suction and negative pressure, it has been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues.
  • So it is used to treat muscle pain and spasms, drain excess fluids and toxins, and loosen adhesions, connective tissue, and stubborn knots in soft tissue.
  • It helps stimulate blood circulation and bring blood flow to nourish stagnant muscles and skin, enhance the flow of energy, stimulate the peripheral nervous system
  • It activates the lymphatic system, clears colon blockages, helps activate and clear the arteries, veins, and capillaries, and improves varicose veins.
  • Cupping draws the inflammation out, yet does not add to it. Due to its stimulating and strengthening effects, it has been used successfully to treat all of the following: bowel conditions (IBS, constipation, and diarrhea), headaches, back pain, arthritis, period pain, injuries, asthma, cellulite, fatigue (ME), anemia, depression and emotional problems, atrophy, sciatica, common cold and flu, skin problems, blood pressure, ladies’ problems, weight loss, and more.
  • In the field of dermatology, it has been used with varying degrees of success for the treatment of skin diseases. Now a day, the use of alternative therapies is rising, and the use of them may undoubtedly become more common.