Dr. Jamie Kuljis, DACM, L.Ac, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM), is a faculty member in SCU’s Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Program. She teaches Introduction to Physical Assessment 1 and 2 to acupuncture students.
What is cupping?
Cupping is a form of therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine where suction is created on the skin using cups. Originally these cups were made of bamboo or animal horns, but is most commonly performed with glass, ceramic, or plastic cups. “Fire cupping” is when a small flame is placed into a glass or ceramic cup to create a vacuum before quickly being placed on the skin to form a suction on the skin. Air can also be pumped out of plastic cups to form suction.
What does cupping treat?
Cupping can be used to treat lung diseases like the common cold, cough, asthma, and gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but is most commonly used in pain conditions. Cups can be applied to most areas of the body to treat pain. While this has always been a traditional use, cupping has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years among athletes for post-performance recovery.
Who are candidates for cupping?
Most individuals are candidates for cupping but there are a few important exceptions. It is not recommended for pregnant women to get cupping on their lower back or abdomen. Cups are not applied over skin that is broken, has rashes, or tears easily so those with certain skin conditions or very thin skin may not be a good candidate for cupping. Cupping is also not recommended for those with bleeding conditions that may be at risk of spontaneous bleeding.
What are the age ranges of patients who use cupping; and what ranges of conditions?
Cupping can be used on patients of all ages as long as they don’t have any contraindications as stated before. On infants and young children, cupping would be applied with much less suction and generally for a shorter period of time.
How does it work, and what does it feel like?
The suction of the cup pulls the skin and soft tissue up, under the cup. It can help decompress the muscles and soft tissue and improve blood flow in the local area. When the cups are applied the skin may feel tight but it should not be painful.
Is cupping safe, and effective?
Yes, cupping is a safe therapy. It is always important to seek out a trained practitioner to lower the risk of adverse reactions. It is normal to see bruising in the shape of the cup after treatment. This bruising should dissipate after a few days to a week and is not tender like a typical bruise. If cups are applied too long or the suction is too strong, small blisters may form where the cup touches the skin. Always communicate with your practitioner if the treatment feels painful.
Is cupping covered by most health insurance plans?
Cupping is not covered by most insurance plans, but patients can always check their benefits with their insurance company. In the SCU Health clinic cupping can be added to an acupuncture service for $10.
Is SCU Health accepting new cupping patients?
Yes, SCU Health is accepting cupping patients. Most patients at SCU Health get cupping during their acupuncture visit, however patients are welcome to come in for cupping only. The normal visit fee would be applied, $137 for an initial visit, ($92 for the initial exam and $45 for any treatment provided), and $45 for follow up visits.
About Dr. Jamie Kuljis
Dr. Jamie Kuljis, DACM, L.Ac, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM), graduated from SCU in 2021 from the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. She received and dual bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Dance from UCSB. Dr. Kuljis has always been interested in the connection between the mind, body, and spirit and how our health is affected by each aspect. Dr. Kuljis began teaching at SCU in 2022. When she is not teaching at SCU, Dr. Kuljis treats patients at her clinic in Long Beach, CA.