List your Practice List a School List an Event Contact Us
Account Login View Cart Cart ($0.00)

Acufinder.com is the leading resource for everything to do with Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Asian Medicine. It is the premier Web destination for those seeking health and wellness for themselves and their loved ones through the principles of Oriental Medicine. We are the voice of authority for up-to-date health and wellness information from an Eastern Medicine perspective.

Search for Acupuncturists Search for Acupuncture Schools Search for Acupuncture Events
Explore Acufinder

Ask the Acupuncturist

Bookmark and Share

« Back to Nutrition & Weight Loss Questions

Q: Does anyone have experience with treating cellulite with acupuncture?
I have cellulite on several areas of my body. It recently occurred to me that acupuncture may help release the toxins in the cellulite and help break that tissue up. I'd love to hear any feedback if anyone has had negative or positive results in treating this condition!?

A: The best Chinese medicine technique for reducing the appearance of cellulite is cupping.

How Cupping Works to Reduce Cellulite


By creating suction and negative pressure, cupping loosens adhesions and lifts connective tissue, bringing blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin. The effect on the nervous system is sedating and is widely used for high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, chronic headache, neuralgia, and rheumatism. It also helps with breaking down adhesions and softening the appearance of cellulite. Lymph drainage using Cupping can benefit pre- and post-operative conditions and may assist in the healing process.

Thighs, hips, buttocks, the abdomen, and arms are usually the areas that are focused on for Weight-loss or Cellulite treatments, while more overall treatments can be used for overall detoxification treatments.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is a technique in which a glass cup or bamboo jar is suctioned onto the body and allowed to sit for about 10 minutes. Cupping stimulates the flow of blood, lymph, and Qi to the affected area; relieves swelling; and greatly enhances an acupuncture or electroacupuncture treatment. Its uses include cellulite reduction, relieving muscle pain, especially back pain from stiffness or injury; and clearing congestion in the chest, which can occur with common colds and influenza.

Cupping is usually incorporated into an acupuncture of bodywork treatment, but can be used alone. The practitioner takes a glass cup or bamboo jar, roughly the size of a jar of baby food, and ignites a small flame inside the cup, creating a vacuum. The cup is then quickly applied to the body, drawing the skin up a few millimeters into the cup. This suction stimulates the flow of blood, lymph, and Qi to the affected area. The suction can leave red marks on the skin that last a few days.


For cellulite treatments, oil is applied to the skin and then the cup is moved up and down the area. This creates a sort of massage with the cup.

Each cupping session lasts approximately 10 to 15 minutes and it can be repeated, once the marks have cleared, until the condition is resolved.

Desiree Potter had acupuncture and cupping for a crick in her neck. She tells Acufinder: ”I must have slept wrong. When I woke up I couldn’t turn my neck. I went to see an acupuncturist who used cupping. By the end of the treatment I could move my neck again, and after one more appointment, the pain was completely gone and I had full range of motion.”

Potter says that cupping has a sensation all its own. “It kind of feels like the opposite of a massage because your skin and muscles are being * up instead of pushed down,” she says. “But it felt great and was very relaxing.”

And the red marks? “The cups did leave dark red marks on my back that lasted for a few days, but they did not hurt. I would definitely get cupping again!”