Traditional Cupping Therapy © Jan Shim Photography

Back in June 2007, I posted an article Cupping Therapy: The Art of Pain that met with some controversy over the question of administration and the pain associated with this method of therapy. Bruce Bentley, an authority in alternative medicine responded

Your information about cupping being painful is incorrect. The degree of suction required for each person is different and appropriate to their strength. Refer to the website & read an interview with me for ‘the Lantern’ – an international journal of TCM.

Right this minute, I’m at a cafe in Kuala Belait having a cappuccino and blogging on my laptop crouched rather uncomfortably in a seat that is suited more for coffee than computing. Heightened by this discomfort, I’ve decided to revisit that article with updated images from a recent visit to The Healing Touch Health Care in the Brunei capital and found a willing model for shots of the glass cups in use. I was actually there for Foot Reflexology when I saw an opportunity not to be missed. Until now, many who have gone through cupping therapy had never seen these in high definition and had no idea just how much the skin is vacuumed into the glass. The physical but temporary pain we feel during the cupping session is from the various points of the back and shoulder to remove ‘wind’ that causes the aches and internal discomfort.

The Healing Touch Health Care Card Loyal Card

In one of my trips to Shanghai, I had foot reflexology at one of a number of popular establishments and The Healing Touch here in Brunei does an excellent job in bringing that authentic experience to us with matching ambience and experienced therapists. First time patron, remember to ask for your Loyalty Card at the cashier. As you can see, I’m one stamp away from a free foot reflexology session. Can’t wait!


  1. Hi Teresa,

    I’ve always been fascinated how different cultures deal with everyday or lifestyle pains that are caused by the trappings of modern living. Pain as a result of ‘wind’ in the body is a concept second nature to a Chinese family that gets passed on from one generation to another. As I have said, I’m no expert on this matter but repeated experience and feedback from regular clients have given me empirical data of the effectiveness of such treatment.

    What interests me is how this method takes the phrase “Fight Fire with Fire” quite literary by using a method that causes pain to remove pain! The trappings of modern living I mentioned earlier include things that may never even occur to us such as air conditioning and stress both of which are necessary evil in our modern day living.

    I would bet that a very high percentage of us work in air conditioned environment, lack of exercise and in more ways than one, highly stressed out! Besides Chinese therapy, I alternate my fix with a traditional labour-intensive Indonesian massage. My regular Indonesian therapist tells me again and again how many of his clients come with one thing in common–stiff neck, shoulders and back–that is a result of prolonged sitting in air-conditioned offices with relatively poor inactivity day in day out!

    I’m someone who’s big on giving new experiences a go before I make up my mind (exceptions to this rule include bungie jumping and getting struck by lightning). I suggest you give cupping a try before you decide if it works for you. Don’t let the initial pain be a deterrent. I suspect many therapists operating abroad ‘play safe’ when performing cupping on their clients, a side effect of developed societies that have a tendency seek legal recourse for the discomfort. Here in Brunei, we get the real deal from such sessions and we expect to deal with the pain one way or another.



  2. Pingback: LOOKING BACK. A TIME TO REFLECT. « A Moment Lived. A Journey Shared.

  3. I had cupping done and I didn’t find it painful at all, in fact, it felt great! I felt like a kitten being grabbed by the scruff of my neck, oddly enough. It felt reassuring & cozy. I know how weird that must sound.

    I never felt any discomfort and I’d love to have it done again. I know this is an old article but I thought I’d put my two cents in.


  4. “I felt like a kitten being grabbed by the scruff of my neck, oddly enough.”

    You were a cat in your past life—how interesting! Glad to have received your purring testimony which is quite the contrast to where this other post is heading. Some clowns at the I Am Bored forum decided to turn this tradition into a circus. Sigh!


  5. Cupping therapy has a minimal pain, According to the patient experience; pain is more in the first visit but decrease after.
    The importance of cupping therapy is its effectiveness in treatment of many diseases.


  6. All that’s been said and done (and written) about cupping therapy, my personal experience says otherwise. People must realize by now that I have nothing against cupping when I say I’ve not experienced more or lesser pain.

    The intensity of pain has always been the same for me somewhat and I think that’s because we subject our body to the same culprit every single day of the work week—air conditioning, extended inactivity from desk duties, poor air circulation, work stress, bad canteen food, etc



  8. Pingback: Cupping | AnatomyBox

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