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Cupping & Gua Sha

Cupping and Gua Sha Treatments
Cherry Blossoms

Cupping and Gua Sha—Here to Bring You Relief

Cupping is acupuncture’s famous cousin, widely used by professional athletes for recovery from workouts. It’s not hard to see why either—cupping has an immediate impact on muscle tension and stiffness, providing some of the quickest pain relief our acupuncturists can offer. Gua sha, while different in its technique, is nearly identical in the way it offers fast and effective reduction of pain.

Cupping Therapy at Cherry Blossom Healing Arts
  • Increases circulation
  • Decreases pain
  • Improves pulmonary function
  • Alleviates allergy symptoms
  • Helps you kick a cold faster

Benefits of Gua Sha and Cupping

Cupping and gua sha are manual therapies excellent for reducing pain and alleviating symptoms associated with the common cold and allergies.

Cupping is excellent at releasing muscle knots and adhesions, reducing back, shoulder, neck, hip, and other types of pain. Gua sha works especially well on head and neck pain. Both increase surface blood circulation and stimulate fibroblasts, which are helpful in healing at the cellular level.

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Cupping is like a deep tissue massage, but in reverse.

Cupping Therapy

Cupping is frequently used in conjunction with acupuncture to treat many types of pain. Cups are applied to the body with suction. This suction increases circulation by mechanically drawing more blood to the area. Cupping also releases muscle knots and adhesions by pulling up the soft tissue and allowing it to separate. You can think of it as a deep tissue massage but in reverse!

Gua Sha Treatments

Gua Sha is performed by first applying massage oil to the affected area, then moving the tool in a pushing or scraping motion across the skin. This motion forces adhesions in the fascia and superficial muscle layer to release, which relieves pain and increases circulation allowing the area to properly heal.

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Gua sha releases adhesions to promote faster healing and pain relief.
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Combining acupuncture with cupping and gua sha delivers the best results.

Acupuncture, Cupping, and Gua Sha

If you’re in pain, our acupuncturists will often use a combination of cupping, gua sha, and acupuncture to treat your symptoms. This combination delivers the best results: short term pain relief and circulation increase through cupping and gua sha, and addressing deeper issues and promoting long term healing with acupuncture.

Relief After One Session

PMNeck Gua Sha

I felt great relief after just one session of Gua Sha

After a few months of working from home, I started experiencing a tension and pain in my neck that I'd not felt before. I couldn't find any stretch that seemed to help, but I felt great relief after just one session of Gua Sha with Zach. The treatment released all of the tension from my neck and I felt better immediately. While I admit to feeling hesitant after hearing Gua Sha first described as scraping, the treatment wasn't painful at all, and was actually quite relaxing!

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What We Treat

Cupping and gua sha work with acupuncture to treat many problems, which fall into five main categories.

Chronic Pain icon

Chronic and Acute Pain

Mental health icon

Mental Health

Fertility icon

Fertility and Perinatal Care

Women's health icon

Women’s Health

Internal medicine icon

Internal Medicine

Cherry Blossoms

Conditions We Treat With Cupping and Gua Sha

Cupping and gua sha are the go-to technique our acupuncturists use for immediate pain relief, whether the condition is chronic (like long-term back pain) or acute (a migraine). Cupping is also especially effective at helping resolve issues with the lungs, such as asthma:

Back Pain

Cupping for back pain offers instant relief! The back is the most commonly cupped area on the body. Cupping can relieve muscle knots from tension as well as treat severe back pain like sciatica. For muscle knots, our acupuncturists will cup your upper back and scapula, while for sciatica, they’ll work on the lower back, glutes, and piriformis for pain relief.

Neck Pain

We’re now a society that spends a lot of time hunched over our computers or phones, and our necks suffer the consequences. We call that pain and stiffness “tech neck.”

Cupping for neck pain can help. Our acupuncturists will cup your trapezius muscle (which runs between the shoulder and neck) and along the scapula, then finish with gua sha along the neck. This will reduce tension, increase your range of motion, decrease stiffness, and alleviate pain.

Knee Pain

Knee pain means not being able to move the way you want to. Cupping for knee pain can alleviate pain and help you get back to your normal lifestyle. Cupping will increase the blood flow around the knee to help treat postoperative knee pain, arthritis, meniscus tears, and ACL or MCL tears.


Cupping for headaches is one part of a multifaceted approach to head pain. Our acupuncturists will treat the face with gua sha on the forehead and cheeks, and cup the neck and down the back. This will promote blood flow, reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and release serotonin.


Cupping for migraines can not only treat active migraines but also help to prevent future migraines. Cupping can reduce pain and help recover from a current migraine. It can also help reduce the triggers that cause migraines—like stress or lack of sleep—by alleviating tension and allowing other areas of the body to function properly.


Cupping for asthma can help prevent your next asthma attack. Our acupuncturists will cup your back to open your chest and help you breathe easier.

Cupping can also help reduce pain between the ribs caused by asthma. Cupping has been shown to improve pulmonary function. Additionally, our herbal medicine can help reduce seasonal allergies, which often exacerbate asthma.

Treating these early symptoms with cupping and gua sha reduces the severity and can help prevent the symptoms from growing into something more serious—such as a full sinus infection or bronchitis.

Colds & Flu

Cupping for cold and flu excels at preventing severe and lingering symptoms. The first symptom of cold and flu is often body aches in the upper back and neck, and cupping and gua sha are excellent at resolving these body aches.

Treating these early symptoms with cupping and gua sha reduces their severity and can help prevent the symptoms from growing into something more serious—such as a full sinus infection or bronchitis.

Cupping Therapy at Cherry Blossom Healing Arts

Your Acupuncture Treatment Plan

Your journey to better health begins before you step through our doors. You'll be able to easily schedule an appointment online as well as fill out your health history form before you arrive at our office—maximizing conversational and treatment time with your acupuncturist.

At your first appointment, your acupuncturist will discuss your health history, get input from you on what your treatment goals are, and develop a treatment plan. They'll then treat you using whatever services are best suited to your specific symptoms.

Although plans vary depending on the patient, most typically run for four weeks. At the end of your first visit, your acupuncturist will give you a written treatment plan. At subsequent visits, you'll discuss your symptoms and whether they've improved, regressed, or stayed the same. Your acupuncturist will adjust the treatment plan based on your input and their ongoing diagnosis of your condition.

When your main complaint is resolved, you can reduce treatment or work on another symptom. Still thinking it over? Take a look at our Testimonials page to see what other patients are saying. 

Experience Fast Pain Relief

Cupping and gua sha provide some of the fastest pain relief our acupuncturists can supply. That immediate relief is coupled with physical effects that help your body to heal faster. It gives strong symptom relief over several days and can help you forget about your tech neck, back pain, knee pain, headaches, and migraines.

Are you looking for pain relief? Head to our booking page and schedule your first appointment.

We are in-network with CareFirst/BlueCross, Aetna, and the VA Community Choice Network and are happy to check your insurance benefits for you.

Be well,
The Cherry Blossom Team

You May Have Insurance Coverage for Acupuncture!We Are In-Network with CareFirst/BlueCross, Aetna, and the VA Community Choice Network. Your out-of-network insurance may also have acupuncture coverage.

We'd be happy to check and see if your insurance covers acupuncture treatments! Submit your details using the button below. We will typically get back to you in one business day or less, but sometimes it can take longer.

Cherry Blossom Healing Arts
Cherry Blossom Healing Arts - logo
Open 7 days a week:
Mon 10:45 am – 8:00 pm
Tue 10:45 am – 8:00 pm
Wed 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thu 9:45 am – 8:00 pm
Fri 8:15 am – 5:15 pm
Sat 8:15 am – 5:15 pm
Sun 9:45 am – 7:00 pm

2639 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite C-101
Washington, DC 20008
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