Can Cupping Therapy Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain?

The ancient Chinese therapy of cupping is championed by professional sports stars and celebrities the world over, but could it help people with fibromyalgia get some pain relief?

MORE: Fibromyalgia patients found to have common viruses. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, cupping works by placing small glass cups on various acupuncture points on the body. The cup sticks to the skin and creates a vacuum, and the air within the cup is heated before being applied to the skin so the heat can penetrate the skin when placed on the body.

The cup is left on the skin for a few minutes before being pulled away, leaving the trademark red welt on the skin. In wet cupping, the skin is pricked prior to the cup being placed. This is supposed to promote healing by increasing circulation.

Researchers haven’t tested the effectiveness of cupping specifically for fibromyalgia pain relief, but many people living with the disease report benefits. However, some suggest it may simply be a placebo effect.

Cupping can leave bruises, burns, sore patches and in rare cases, skin infections but if conducted by a qualified professional, there should be no problems.

MORE: How can acupuncture help with fibromyalgia pain?

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. Marilynne Rowland says:

    I encourage everyone to find an Chinese “trained” acupuncturist. Made all the difference in my response to both cupping and actual acupuncture. There is a tremendous difference in their training. It did take time; not an instant fix. The cupping helps the blood to flow more efficiently. Works really well in conjunction with the Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic work I have done.

  2. Annette Sivers says:

    I have cupping regularly in conjunction with acupuncture and find it helps a lot in releasing those tight muscles. The colour of the marks left behind informs the practitioner about the state of health in different parts of the body.

  3. Rosemary Ramsay says:

    I can’t imagine how painful cupping would be for me on my fibromyalgia skin, don’t really want to try it. I tried acupuncture 4 or 5 times which was absolute agony, really, just paying someone to torture me with needles.

  4. Brenda Stapleton says:

    I have had cupping twice now. I have felt tremendously better over the weeks in between. The application is only painful in tighter areas. At those spots, I simply alert the practitioner and less pressure is applied. I realize, no two people will have the same results, but if you find something that helps? Grasp it!

  5. Michelle Drake says:

    I tried the cupping once. From what I’d seen they put the cups on and left them. The lady that did mine started moving them around while still attached to my skin. That part was very painful! If I did it again would tell her to leave them in place but probably won’t try again

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