Acupuncture is just one of many methods used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve patient health and well-being. You may have heard of “cupping” and perhaps even moxibustion and wondered what they were all about.

Cupping and moxibustion are complementary therapies and have been used in combination with acupuncture for centuries to enhance and reinforce treatments.  At Acupuncture by Devon, one if not both of these therapies are used commonly in treatment.

Read on to learn more about these fascinating and helpful techniques!

What is “cupping” and ”moxibustion”?


Using suction, small glass cups are applied to the body, remaining about 10 minutes or gently moved along the muscular structures. Cupping relieves back and neck pain, stiff muscles, common colds, stomachaches, fatigue, migraines, asthma and anxiety.  While the use of cups is relaxing and painless, the patient may have some redness and slight bruising after treatment. This is nothing to worry about and within a couple hours to a day your skin will be back to normal.


Moxibustion or “moxa” is a warming therapy involving the burning of mugwort to stimulate circulation to an acupuncture point or region of the body. This method is especially effective in the treatment of chronic joint pain, menstrual disorders, fatigue and breech position of a baby.  At Acupuncture by Devon, we use indirect moxa or stick moxa which resembles a cigar. The moxa stick is ignited at one end until it begins to smoke and then small circles or “pecking” motions are made on the affected area.

What do these therapies do?

These complementary therapies provide the additional benefits of:

  • Boosting the immune system by improving lymphatic flow
  • Removing toxins from the body
  • Calming the nervous system and reducing stress
  • Increasing blood circulation to the muscles, organs and brain
  • Activating the secretion of synovial fluid in joints
  • Regulating the digestive system
  • Warming areas of stagnation that cause pain or infertility

How is it used with acupuncture?

Cupping and moxa are most commonly used in combination with acupuncture; however Acupuncture by Devon does offer cupping-only sessions at your request.  If combined with acupuncture, we apply cupping or moxa once the needles are removed. Most often cupping is performed on the back to open up channels, or communications pathways, and to gently pull fascia (layers of fibrous tissue) away from the muscles and organs. This improves blood and lymph circulation.  We most commonly use moxibustion directly on the affected, and these areas include the muscles, tendons, ligaments and pelvic area to increase blood flow to the uterus. Moxibustion is also effective when applied to the pinky toe to re-position a breech baby.

Are you interested in experiencing cupping? Contact us today to set up an appointment!