Collier and Lee Counties Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Local Therapists Bring Back Cupping Therapy

At the Rio Summer Olympic Games in 2016, when the ancient Egyptian therapy of cupping left telltale signs on the shoulders of Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, TV viewers took notice and began asking questions. This led to international interest in Phelps and members of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team that were using cupping to speed recovery and improve range of motion for overworked muscles.

Cupping therapy involves attaching circular cups to the skin using suction created either by heating the cup, which forms a vacuum, using a handheld pump or employing a vacuum therapy machine. It can cause small blood capillaries to burst, leading to distinctive circular bruises that may last anywhere from three days to several weeks.

The therapy can be used in different places on the body to bring blood flow to a specific area. A 2012 study in PubMed indicates that of 40 patients that suffered from knee arthritis, those that underwent cupping reported less pain after four months, compared to arthritis sufferers in a control group that were not treated. Some researchers have suggested that cupping therapy may also reduce neck pain.

The outcome of another study, conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, notes, “Different techniques of cupping have been developed over time; however, applying a cup to create suction over a painful area is common to all. Dry, or fire cupping, used on the intact skin, leaves bluish circular markings. Recently, interest in cupping has re-emerged and subsequently, several studies have begun to investigate the mechanisms of cupping therapy. Mechanically, it increases blood circulation, whereas physiologically, it activates the immune system and stimulates the mechanosensitive fibers, thus leading to a reduction in pain.”

One year after integrating cupping into her practice, Licensed Massage Therapist Mary Radewahn, of Power of Touch, in Naples, reports a positive response from patients when cupping is used as a part of comprehensive massages. “It’s less invasive, especially with inflammation,” she says. “A recent client couldn’t move her neck, and she’s now pain-free. Another was pleasantly surprised to discover that her sciatica discomfort of 22 years had disappeared.”

Radewahn cites other benefits mentioned by her clients, including the reduction of chest congestion and improved range of motion, as well as muscle and connective tissue flexibility.

Cupping for Wellness & Beauty, in Naples, provides cupping treatments for sports, as well as aesthetics, and offers many modalities of massage therapy. A seven-year veteran of cupping, Marisa Sabin blends her treatments to address common complaints such as pre/post knee replacement surgery, middle back tension and cellulite. Sabin also teaches clients how to use self-care cups so that they may help their pain in-between treatment sessions.

A secret that Japanese geishas once coveted, Sabin uses vibrational cupping to give a client’s face a mini-lift. “Cupping can reduce puffiness, lift tense muscles, reduce dark circles, minimize under-eye bags, firm jowls, minimize wrinkles and plump lips. It repairs and nourishes the face by moving toxins and stagnant blood out and ushering in new, nutrient-enriched blood and fluids. Its pleasantly invigorating action increases elastin and collagen.

The feeling of the treatment can be invigorating, but also relaxing. Cup markings are never intentional, but depending on the health history of the individual, they can arise. “They are easily covered and can dissipate within 24 hours,” she says.

Power of Touch is located at 4156 Tamiami Tr. N., inside Suzanna’s Image full-service salon. For appointments, call or text (preferred) 239-571-2903 or visit

Cupping for Wellness & Beauty/Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Med Spa of Naples is located at 3699 Airport Rd. N. For appointments, call 239-919- 6573, email or visit

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Rejuvenate Active Recovery Centers

At Rejuvenate Active Recovery Centers, in Naples, owners Susan and Mark Stephenson offer therapies to individuals seeking ways of recovering from life’s daily stressors.

Orchestrating the Advance of Holistic Wellness

Healthcare professionals, practitioners and businesses in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Naples are delighted to have the Holistic Chamber of Commerce as an advocate to represent their business interests and offer them an opportunity to network regularly.

Love Yoga Center’s Recommended Posture for Great Sleep

Deeply relaxing, yoga invites rhythmic breathing and invokes a meditative state that further helps to cultivate a quiet mind when practiced for at least 15 minutes before bed.

Opiate Alternatives

Many local health practitioners approach the alleviation of pain from an integrative perspective, suggesting that modalities used in tandem can provide the best relief.

Robert Murdoch

Murdoch is trained in therapies such as Classical 5 Element acupuncture, classical homeopathy, functional medicine, nutrition and pediatrics.