Home > Blog > TCM > Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Cupping

book your physio appointment today

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Cupping

Cupping (拔罐) refers to a specific type of Chinese massage, which consists of traditional chinese medicine (TCM) physicians placing several glass "cups" (more like open spheres) on the body.

Traditional Chinese Medicine cupping works on your body's meridian system, to open any  potential stagnant/stagnating/blocked points for a better flow of Qi. This will also help to  rejuvenate specific meridians and organs that have/are not functioning at their maximum/best potential.

Scientifically, cupping TCM techniques are known moreso to activate our body's lymphatic system, improving blood circulation and internal system/tissue repair.

fire versus pump cuppings

The traditional approach to cupping is the "fire cupping" style, where the TCM physician will light a fire source, place it inside the cup and then removing the fire source before placing the cup against open skin.

Not to worry, it's not hot - it works with pressure.

You see, as the air inside the cup is heated, the air inside is heated and it increases with kinetic energy and expands; so when the TCM physician places it on the skin, it cools and that lowers the pressure inside the cup that causes the cup to "suck" the skin and the cup then sticks to the skin.

The Modern Approach

The modern and a little safer approach is to use the pump version (with a pump mechanism) to cause the suction.

The suction created with a suction pump is/tends to be:

  • more consistent in pressure
  • more even in pressure
  • more controlled
  • close to zero heat

BUT retains all the health benefits of traditional chinese medicine cupping therapy.

Sometimes, the TCM physician may also place massage oil on the skin, and this allows the cups (in-suction) to be moved around the back/skin. This is a reverse-pressure massage, and known as "zhou-gwan" (走罐).

Zhou-gwan in English is glide-cupping or gliding-cupping), which serves one main purpose:

to restart the Qi (inner, bodily energy) within the patient

The health benefits of restarting of Qi

  1. increases one's internal energy levels and flow
  2. increasing mental alertness
  3. increases mental focus
  4. increases physical and mental strength
  5. increasing immunity naturally

How many cupping sessions would I need?

The number and frequency of traditional chinese medicine cupping sessions changes/varies from patients to patients, based on:

  • their age
  • severity of their medical/health conditions
  • how their body respond to the treatments

In some patients, they may feel a lot of relief even from the first session (or first few); others may only experience the benefits after 6-12 sessions or more.

Generally, someone who has had a health condition for years will need 2-3 treatments a week for the first 4 weeks, and then gradually reduce to once per week.

Back to Top

book your physio appointment today

Phoenix Rehab Singapore Core Services And Specializations

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and specialist rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.


Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists (sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand following injuries or post-operations and custom made hand splints.


Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing.

It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.



Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired , tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and shorten downtime. It also helps prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and future ruptures), and increases muscle performance. When done regularly it will keeps your muscles and you healthy and fit and have body/movement-confidence.


Having a dedicated personal trainer/personal training helps you get faster and better health, fitness and wellness results.

You can expect better fat loss and muscle gain, have reduced risks of injury, establish effective exercise and health habits as well as overcome those annoying "flatline plateus" to breakthrough to your next level of fitness and weight loss.

All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here by location and specialization.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session. 

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

do Tell Your Family, Friends And Colleagues About Us =)

We appreciate you as a patient and want you to know that the #1 (and only) way we grow as a clinic is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the opportunity, please take the time to tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our clinic.

book a physiotherapy appointment today