Acupuncture & Cupping as Natural & Alternative Forms of Pain Relief

Many people who are experiencing short-term or long-term discomfort may find that the best forms of pain relief come from alternative medicine. Techniques such as acupuncture and cupping can offer an equal solution, if not greater, solution to pain management than the traditional approach of prescription drugs. Additionally, these natural remedies are inexpensive, readily available, and have minimal side-effects.


Acupuncture is one of the best-known forms of alternative therapy for the relief of chronic pain. It involves applying tiny needles into certain key locations on the body with the intent of stimulating the nerves. This stimulation has two effects: first, it helps to immediately relieve pressure that may be compressing the tissue around a nerve and causing inflammation. Secondly, even though the procedure itself is painless, the needles trigger the release of endorphins which are the body’s natural pain suppressants.

Acupuncture is considered one of the most powerful natural treatments for chronic conditions such as arthritis and Fibromyalgia. Many patients suffering from these or other nerve conditions have found it more effective at relieving pain than prescription painkillers. However, acupuncture has a few drawbacks that anyone considering it should be aware of. Because it’s mildly invasive, it must be performed only by licensed specialists. It also requires multiple treatments before the results can be fully achieved.


Cupping is a newly popular technique that focuses on stimulating blood flow to specific regions. During a cupping treatment, a small bowl is placed on the skin and the air is drawn out to create a slight suction. This increases blood flow to the location helps drain out toxins through the skin. Cupping is believed to be especially helpful in soothing muscle cramps, sprains, and speeding up the healing of damaged joints.

Unlike acupuncture, cupping treatments have immediate benefits and usually only one session is needed. The pain relief typically lasts a week or more, during which the affected area will have time to heal on its own. However, cupping is not recommended for long-term pain management because there is a recommended waiting period of two weeks between sessions. Additionally, many patients experience mild to moderate bruising over the cupped areas which may last for a day or longer.

Are These Therapies Right for You?

If you are comfortable experimenting with alternative therapies or unsatisfied by traditional Western interventions, cupping or acupuncture may be a great choice. You can discuss which option is best for your needs and bring up any concerns with your trained acupuncturist or cupping technician.