That Cupping Thing

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A few people have asked for cupping pictures!  Cupping is a technique used by acupuncturists.  An alcohol-soaked cotton ball is lit on fire, and then the practitioner quickly passes the flame into a glass cup to suck out all the air and create a vacuum.


Then, the cup is quickly placed on your skin.  It is not hot!  Cupping is most common on the back, but you can use it on other places.  Like on the IT band!


The doctor coats the skin with baby oil prior to cupping.  The vacuum created by the fire sucks the skin into the cup, which detoxifies and promotes healing of the immediate muscles and ligaments under the skin.  The Husband either lets the cups just stay in one spot or slides them across the skin, like a deep tissue massage.


The Hus also has plastic cups that are used on specific acupuncture points.  The have a balloon on the ends, so you don’t have to use fire.


Shown above are the two types of cups that the Husband uses.  Since I was having my IT band and the surrounding area cupped, I had about 4 more big glass cups on my leg to the top of my thigh.


China’s national swim team uses cupping!  Yes, it looks like an octopus hugged you.  🙂


That’s cupping in a nutshell.  Cool, huh?


Besides cupping, here are 8 other things that I did today:


1)  Brought the Husband a black bean burger on a whole wheat bun + sweet potato fries for lunch, and I ended up eating about 1/3 of his meal while we talked about our day.  :)  It was a nice little break.

IMG_5564 IMG_5559

2) My really late lunch consisted of a hummus sandwich and a Green Monster (1 cup rice milk, 2 cups raw spinach, 1/2 banana).


3) And another one of those maple pecan bars!


4) My Dad and I looked at properties for him today!  We checked out a few really cheap homes 40 minutes outside of Charlotte.  The first one was moldy, but I think the second one had potential.


But a LOT of renovation was required so we said, “Nahh.”


5) I posted this Operation Beautiful note.


6) And my late-night snack consisted of salsa and chips at a small Mexican restaurant (my Dad hadn’t eaten lunch yet).


7) Then I went back for another maple syrup bar… or two.  These things are SOOO good.  If you like pecan, you should make them for sure.


8)  Dinner was a big bowl of veggies (roasted potatoes, parsnips, and carrots) with an over-easy egg.  It was a really good mix.  Something different!


Random day, huh?  I’m SOOO excited that it’s Friday though!!



  • suki November 19, 2010, 7:49 pm

    Thanks for the “cupping” explanation! 🙂 It’s something I wouldn’t mind trying. I’ll have to ask my acupuncturist about it the next time I’m in… Will they do it if you’re only experiencing minor soreness? Does it usually cost more?


    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 9:42 am

      I think it’s usually included in the price of the treatment. They use it for lots of things, not just muscle soreness! Try it. It’s fun.

  • Cristina @ Cristina Meets Life November 19, 2010, 7:49 pm

    Actually, I’ve seen that somewhere… the cupping, but I don’t remember where. So do you have like a checkerboard on your thigh… I mean, LOL can someone play connect the dots?

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 9:43 am

      Haha pretty much

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 19, 2010, 7:51 pm

    I love the “big bowl of veggies” dinner sometimes too. It’s quick and like a new comfort food.

    This explanation of cupping is rather enlightening. Sounds like an effective procedure… makes sense.

  • Macrae November 19, 2010, 7:56 pm

    Wow, very cool! I saw something similar on Dr. Oz the other day. He used a plunger on the knee for knee pain. Same idea I guess??? I sure wish I lived in Charlotte near the Clinic. I could seriously use some hip flexor help!

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate) November 19, 2010, 7:56 pm

    The cupping information was very intriguing–thanks!

  • Jennifer@ knackfornutrition November 19, 2010, 7:59 pm

    That’s really interesting. I have heard a lot about cupping previously but I didn’t know the specifics behind it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 19, 2010, 7:59 pm

    I remember seeing that swimmer and commenting on the odd marks! cupping looks really neat. I wonder if that would help my IT problem…

    TGIF, indeed! 🙂

  • janae @ hungryrunnergirl November 19, 2010, 7:59 pm

    I have always wondered about cupping! I am going to have to try those pecan bars, they look amazing!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) November 19, 2010, 8:10 pm

    I just wrote how excited I am it is Friday! I so need this weekend! I WANT to get cupping done. I am totally fascinated by accupunture. Have you ever seen the movie My Life (Michael Keaton), ever since I saw that, I have really been interested in it. Anyway…oh your dinner = perfect! I love roasted veggies and over easy eggs! Makes a perfect sauce!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 19, 2010, 8:10 pm

    That is a random day – cupping seems pretty cool! Right now I have bandaids on my middle fingers with magnets in them. My chiropractor put them on me to try and balance out my body so my thyroid will start working a bit more. Im not sure what’s going on, but I keep having some sharp pain in my fnger. Meh.

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) November 19, 2010, 8:10 pm

    My Mom was a total non-believer in cupping, acupuncture… etc. BUT she hurt her shoulder and the doc told her that her only option was to have surgery. She was NOT ok with this, so she talked to her chiropractor about it and he suggested both cupping and acupuncture. Despereate, she tried it and guess what… ?? It worked 😀 She was so happy that she would not have to have surgery and found a therapy that helped. I have been having some issues with my left wrist and have seriously been considering some alternative medicine. If it worked for her, maybe it’ll help me too 😉

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 19, 2010, 8:11 pm

    That picture of the swimmer’s back is crazy!! Thanks for the explanation though- it always sounded so foreign to me!

  • Samantha-The Life Abundant November 19, 2010, 8:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing that! I’ve always been really curious about the procedure. I have a friend that does it and absolutley swears by it!

  • Lauren November 19, 2010, 8:30 pm

    I made the pecan bars tonight and they are amazing!!!

  • Nikki - The Tolerant Vegan November 19, 2010, 8:36 pm

    I love cupping! I don’t even mind the marks that it leaves. They are a visual reminder to myself to continue to take care of myself several days after the treatment is over.

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write November 19, 2010, 8:40 pm

    I’ve gone to accupuncture alot, but never heard of cupping! That is really cool. I’m so glad you posted it. Does it bruise your skin, though? Is that why that guy’s back had purple circles?

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 9:43 am

      It’s like a giant hickey!

  • Bronwyn Coyne November 19, 2010, 8:45 pm

    The cupping is interesting, but I want to ask how exactly it works to detoxify and heal the muscle areas. It’s the scientist in me! Details and evidence.

    That maple pecan bar looks good.

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 9:44 am

      Haha well… I think you can rely on 5,000 years of clinical experience instead 🙂

      • Bronwyn Coyne November 20, 2010, 11:29 am

        hahaha, I think I can do that. I do believe it works. I’d love to know HOW though. :p

        • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 4:24 pm

          I’m not sure I could explain it in technical enough terms!

    • Lacey @ Lake Life November 22, 2010, 11:38 am

      Supposedly the suction stumulates blood flow to the affected area and breaks up “stagnate” blood. The down side is that when you’re “breaking up stagnate blood” you’re putting yourself at risk for embolism. Apparently to reduce that risk you’re not supposed to lay down during or after cupping and a half-hour walk is recommended afterwards.

  • EM November 19, 2010, 9:05 pm

    I LOVE cupping!!! My mom is a huge fan of acupuncture and took me to this place in Korea to get “cupped”, I’ve been hooked since! It really helped with my migraines and periods and I always feel so relaxed after wards! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Amy November 19, 2010, 9:15 pm

    I want to know HOW cupping detoxifies! It’s such a mystery to me.

    And, you made my faaaaaaaaavorite dinner. I almost made it tonight, but we wound up at Panera where I had a VERY uninspired caesar salad. Sigh.

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 6:59 am

      By removing stagnated blood 🙂

      • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 7:00 am

        I should say, by MOVING

  • Joanne November 19, 2010, 9:25 pm

    The cupping information was really interesting. I’ll have to look into that for a better understanding. Natural healing is so interesting.
    I went to an acupunturist (is that right..the -ist???) a few times for horrible cramping every month. I think it really helped but then had a bad experience the last time I went so I never tried again. didn’t cover it, maybe it still doesn’t.

    Great to know the hubs business is getting busier and things are working out so well for you in NC. Best of luck! and…I agree..YAY TGIF!

  • Maddie (Healthy Maddie) November 19, 2010, 9:40 pm

    Cupping sounds cool. I’ve never heard of it before. The black bean burger and sweet potato fries look great!

  • Nicole - yuppie yogini November 19, 2010, 9:43 pm

    Mmm…roasted veggies!!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 19, 2010, 9:56 pm

    I love the idea of mixing roasted veggies and an egg. So quick and easy yet a nice mix of flavors. Something fun to try out soon.

    Thank you for the explanation of cupping. I think it is something that is so unknown but has such benefits. I hope you let us know how it works for you.

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 19, 2010, 9:58 pm

    It looks painful! But I believe you that it isn’t really and that it helps out. I had never really heard of it before until you mentioned it.

  • Kiran November 19, 2010, 10:09 pm

    I love how oriental medicinal techniques are widely accepted around the world. It actually works and thank god for alternative from modern medicines.

  • Charlie November 19, 2010, 10:11 pm

    I had the biggest craving for sweet potato fries today! Didn’t have any :(. Lucky you ;).

  • Allison November 19, 2010, 10:51 pm

    Crazy!!! My boyfriend and I took his parents to lunch at Big Daddy’s today! Although… it was a late lunch (130ish). Looove that place!

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 6:59 am

      We just missed each other!!!

  • tina November 19, 2010, 11:00 pm

    love the leave pic!!! those black bean burgers are pretty amazing- are they the same place you got them from the other day???? and if so… have you asked anyone what is in them????

    i had sweet potato fries for dinner (+wine and cashew)… man, they rock my world!

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 6:58 am

      the word on the street is that they have sour cream and are deep fried. 🙂

      • tina November 20, 2010, 7:27 am

        oh yea I forgot you wrote that the other day… le bummer!!!!

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 19, 2010, 11:51 pm

    Cupping sounds really interesting — although that swimmer’s back just makes me cringe — I used to have a nightmare when I was younger about having circles on my back (not kidding!!!) and it grossed me out. So, seeing that picture brought up bad memories 🙁

  • Ariane November 19, 2010, 11:51 pm

    1. i got really interested/nervous at your tweet about this post (what the H is cupping?!?”
    2. i wish i lived near you so i could get accupunctured by The Husband
    3. that dinner looked ah-mazing. and you are like the best wife ever 🙂
    4. you have like the coolest life! and you deserve it!


  • Katherine November 19, 2010, 11:57 pm

    i love cupping. it really helped me a few years ago when i was having some asthma problems. also wanted to share that acupuncture is the only thing that has helped my chronic condition (western med docs included). not only do i do acupuncture once a week, but i truly believe the chinese herbs i take have made the most difference in my life!

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 6:57 am

      Glad it helps you asthma!!

  • Camille November 20, 2010, 12:19 am

    Eek, the cupping looks kind of freaky!

  • Jolene ( November 20, 2010, 12:53 am

    I remember seeing Gwyneth Paltrow’s “cupping” pics and being intrigued!!

  • Wei-Wei November 20, 2010, 1:19 am

    I’ve done cupping before – it feels really weird! It’s not hot, but it IS a little warm. Chinese medicine is so interesting!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie November 20, 2010, 1:32 am

    I love natural remedies like that. They make so much sense! What an awesome way to help your pain. Mostly I’m jealous your hubby does it for you!

  • C November 20, 2010, 1:51 am

    In China, a lot of people do cupping at home by themselves when they feel they need it. It has been widely used in the ruaral areas where people still worship tradtional chinese medicine.

    I never did cupping, but I know most of time it works like magic.

  • Janessa November 20, 2010, 3:31 am

    i love the big ol’ vat of salsa you got! did you get a straw? ;]

  • Teri November 20, 2010, 5:21 am

    My parents live outside of Charlotte… in the Waxhaw area. It’s such a cute little town. You should have your dad check it out!

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 6:56 am

      Ok! I’ll mention it 🙂

  • Laine @ Beets, Butter & Mountaintops November 20, 2010, 6:46 am

    I love cupping. Next you can show pictures of moxa treatments.

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 6:56 am

      OK 🙂

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) November 20, 2010, 7:19 am

    I’ve never heard of cupping, so it was interesting to hear about! 😀

  • Priyanka November 20, 2010, 11:02 am

    It was interesting to learn about cupping!

    On a totally different note, I love your relationship with your Mum and Dad. I miss my parents so much being far away and all!!

  • Amber K November 20, 2010, 12:18 pm

    I loved learning more about cupping! I always thought it sounded CRAZY, but I keep hearing more and more about it. It’s good to know that it isn’t hot. Is it sore at all afterwards?

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 4:25 pm

      A little bit – similar to a deep tissue massage.

      • Amber K November 20, 2010, 5:19 pm

        Very cool. 🙂

  • Anonymous November 22, 2010, 7:09 pm

    Cupping is practiced in areas where there is no access to other types of medicine! Where there is no access to pharmaceuticals or anything that has been proven by the scientific method to work. There is no scientific background or explanation for it. Why would anyone ever do it to him/herself here?!?! The Chinese swimmer clearly has bruises on her back! Do you find the formation of a bruise painful when you hit your leg? Why would one ever think that this particular formation wasn’t painful.
    Let me tell you, in the Soviet Union cupping was also popular as a treatment for pneumonia. That was because there wasn’t enough medicine, antibiotics or doctors to go around! It was certainly not relaxing and quite painful. It’s still practiced in rural China because they are subjugated to the same conditions of poverty and lack of doctors – not because it’s effective! I was glad to leave that part of the world with these particular problems behind and I’m saddened to see someone praise this as something therapeutic.

    • Caitlin November 22, 2010, 7:19 pm

      If you think that something has to be “proven” by the scientific method to have any sort of validity, than you’re going to miss out on some awesome alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs that cause a list of side effects as long as my arm.

  • Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) December 20, 2010, 9:34 pm

    Cupping looks very interesting! I’ve started seeing a chiropractor who belongs to a clinic that uses all-natural remedies – I prefer it so much to ‘traditional’ therapies. How long does it take for those marks on your skin to go away after cupping?

    • Caitlin December 20, 2010, 9:36 pm

      Usually for me, 2 or 3 days!

  • Reenie December 21, 2010, 8:02 am

    Does he hold the flame over your body? That looks scary!! :O

    • Caitlin December 21, 2010, 10:52 am

      Just for a second 🙂 It’s not scary, I promise!

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