Acupuncture in Nanaimo, BC

(250) 667-8242


​​​​​Harbour City Healers

Fire Cupping & Gua-Sha

Cupping and Gua-Sha are ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques used to initiate physiological healing to improve health.

What is Fire Cupping?

Your Acupuncturist briefly inserts a small flame in the cup, and after the flame is removed, the cup is commonly applied to the back, shoulder, or neck, this creates a vacuum to pull up the tissues beneath. 

Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin's pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of Qi, breaks up obstructions, stimulates the sensory nerves in the skin, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body. 

The cup can be left in place for 5-20 minutes, or can be moved around the affected area with lotion (slide cupping), and then left over tight areas for longer periods. 

The amazing sensation of cupping is like having your skin and subdermal connective tissues pulled up gently. Typically it is not painful, but rather a pleasant sensation. It is more difficult to move the cup over tight areas.  

What is Gua-Sha?
Your Acupuncturist will use the edge of a simple Chinese soup spoon, or another tool to gently and repeatedly rub the skin surface to bring up marks (called "Sha") by creating controlled damage of fragile tissue. 
Gua-Sha literally means to scrape away disease by allowing the disease to escape through the skin. Gua-Sha is also used to increase circulation of Blood and Qi.

Results are worth it!

The treatment combination of cupping or Gua-Sha with acupuncture is a great way to achieve results.

In my practice, I see many patients who experience considerable improvements in:

1) Muscular aches and pains such as neck and back ache, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow and so on.

2) Prevents and eliminates cold/flu symptoms

3) Blood circulation

4) Detoxify the body

5) Asthma

6) Allergies

7) Relieve Headaches

What does it look like afterwards?

I warn my patients that there may be circular or streak like looking dark red or purple markings (called "sha") after treatment. It is really interesting the markings that may appear from cupping or Gua-Sha do not show up very much on healthy tissues. The markings usually go away in 3-7 days but may last up to a couple weeks if the markings are very dark and prominent. 

What should I feel like after treatment?

Typically after treatment, range of motion is greater and stiffness or tightness has diminished. In relation to lung health, you may feel less congested, it may be easier to breathe. 

The marks can sometimes feel slightly tender, similar to a bruise in the following days but this only occurs when there was a lot of stagnation in the area and the marks are quite dark. 

How often should I get Fire Cupping and/or Gua-Sha?

I suggest getting a Fire Cupping and/or Gua-Sha treatment after the markings have nearly or completely diminished. 

After each subsequent treatment, the markings will start to diminish and eventually be absent. This change in appearance usually is accompanied by a significant reduction in your pain or symptom of which you're treating. 

Getting tune-up or maintenance treatments once per month or two is ideal after your symptoms are completely gone to prevent reoccurrence. 

Book your treatment with Sheena Villeneuve R.Ac

I hope this will help you better understand these techniques, and to consider them as part of your next treatment if you have pain, tightness, limited range of motion, or other health concerns.

Harbour City Healers
Registered Acupuncture
Sheena Villeneuve R.Ac. : 250-667-8242​