Cupping Therapy vs Medical acupuncture

which one should i choose? 


When it comes to alternative therapies for pain relief and muscle recovery, dry cupping therapy and medical acupuncture are two popular options. Each of these treatments offers distinct methods and benefits, catering to different needs and conditions. In this blog, we’ll explore the mechanics, benefits, and drawbacks of both therapies to help you determine which might be best for you.


Dry Cupping therapy

Cupping therapy involves the application of cups to the skin, creating a vacuum that pulls up the skin and stretches the fascia—a cobweb-like connective tissue between the muscle and skin. This process increases blood flow to the area, reduces sensitivity of nerves, and can lead to pain relief and improved mobility​​.


Pain Relief and Mobility: The stretching of fascial tissues and increased blood flow help alleviate pain and enhance mobility.

Reduced Inflammation: It can also reduce inflammation in affected areas.


Bruising: The primary side effect is bruising, which, while not harmful, can be aesthetically displeasing.

Temporary Discomfort: Some individuals may experience temporary soreness or numbness post-treatment​​.

Skin Issues: In rare cases, it may exacerbate conditions like eczema or psoriasis and carries a small risk of skin infection, particularly with wet cupping​​

medical acupuncture 

Medical Acupuncture involves inserting a monofilament needle into a muscle’s trigger point or sore spot. This action can lead to reduced muscle tension, decreased pain, and sometimes improved range of motion​​.   



Targeted Relief: It is specific in targeting deeper muscles and can provide immediate muscle mobility improvements.

Pain Reduction: Effective in reducing pain and inflammation related to various conditions like tendonitis, arthritis, and stress fractures.

Reduced Medication Dependence: May reduce the need for pain medication.

Versatile and Convenient: Beneficial during sports seasons and competitions, requiring no rest period after the procedure.


Bruising and Discomfort: Some bruising and discomfort are possible, though many find the benefits outweigh these temporary issues.

Post-Treatment Soreness: Patients may experience muscle soreness for about 24 hours after treatment.

Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between dry cupping and medical acupuncture should be based on the nature of your injury or pain, the duration of your symptoms, and personal preferences. 

Both treatments are more effective when integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that includes consistent exercise, mobility, and strength exercises.

 For Muscle and Fascia-Related Pain: If your symptoms involve irritation in the muscles and fascia, both cupping and dry needling can be effective.

Individual Tolerance: Consider your comfort with the methods used in each therapy. For instance, if you’re uneasy with needles, cupping might be a better option.

Therapist’s Evaluation: A therapist’s initial evaluation can help determine which intervention is more suited to your specific condition​​.

In conclusion, both cupping therapy and medical acupuncture have their unique advantages and can be part of an effective pain management and recovery strategy. 

It’s crucial to consult with your physio to understand which treatment aligns best with your health needs and personal preferences.

At Light Joint Physiotherapy in Bradford we can help you to become pain free.

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About Daniel Thomson

5cac4431b6d433ab247071a26864a350?s=90&d=mm&r=gDaniel Thomson is our esteemed Founder and Lead Physiotherapist. He holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Physiotherapy from Leeds Beckett University. With extensive experience, he has provided exceptional physiotherapy assessment and treatment services to both inpatients and outpatients, consistently delivering positive outcomes by enhancing physical strength, cognition, mobility, and overall quality of life.