DIY Cupping Therapy-quick pain release (tennis elbow, shoulder pain)

It was very beautiful day yesterday and I couldn't resist to play outside. Never played tennis before, I decided to drive to one of the tennis court near me. The summer class is not open yet and the only thing I can do is to play against wall;) 

I had few injuries from playing sports before:

  • Knee injury-in 2014, while I was doing some badass exercises (six packs program by Jilllian Michaels), I hurt my right knee. It was so bad and I had to go to ER the day after. Did MRI and my dr said it's was not too serious and there's no need to do surgery. I felt relieved! But unexpected, I didn't know it took me almost 1 and half years to recover. I eventually asked for help from a local physical therapy team. They did such a wonderful job and it took about 12 sessions of physical therapy for me to finally be able to go back to play ground again! Today, I still have a little bit uncomfortable while playing sports. 
  • Tennis elbow-who knew this issue can last soooo long and it's very difficult to heal??!! It's normally caused by repeating similar movements. Over time it damages the soft tissue around elbow area. I am right handed. The tennis elbow issue comes from over-use of my right hand and damages accumulates over time. One day I was doing some work at my warehouse and just one simple move caused my right arm almost paralyzed. I couldn't lift my right arm. Couldn't open a door. Couldn't even hold a key. The pain was quite bad. I didn't seek professional treatment at that time. Waited about two months and it seemed the pain was going away. But whenever I start exercising, the pain comes back. My doctor said the only solution to cure it is to do a surgery. Sometimes surgery can't cure it as well. I did physical therapy, but it came back after I started exercising again;(
  • Shoulder pain-I like any sports in water even though I have acquaphobia. When I was young, my best friend and I went to beach together. I had some bad experience swimming in swimming pool and didn't really learn how to swim. She was a very good swimmer. Of course, she swam while I was picking crabs on the beach. When she approached deeper side of water, suddenly she had a spasm and lost control. Fortunately another friend of us found her struggling in water and saved her life. It was such a horrific accident for me to watch her struggling in water and ever since I couldn't be close to any water, even a swimming pool. But I always want to learn how to swim when I see everyone can swim like a fish. I couldn't resist to take a try. It took me almost a year to finally overcome (soft of) the fear of water. I can swim now. Here comes with a price-I found I hurt my muscle around shoulder some how, probably due to wrong form. 


Now back to tennis. I spoke to the tennis coach about my injuries-knee, arm and shoulder. He chuckles-good luck;) 

Here I am-played about an hour of tennis yesterday on my own. I sensed a little bit burning pain while playing. Last night, I couldn't lift my right arm and the pain costed me some sleep;(( My right knee was ok. So this morning I decided to try the Traditional Chinese Medicine-cupping. 

Professional physical therapy is very helpful, but sometimes it's not convenient (costs, time, etc). Home DIY therapy is always better. I can do it at any time and don't need to make any schedule, stuck in traffic etc. When I moved to the US, my dad bought me a set of Chinese Cupping. You actually can find it on Amazon I believe. It's very inexpensive and you can do it yourself. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine Cupping is done with glass cups and heat (burn piece of paper or alcohol). I had done it plenty times when I was in China. The issue with traditional cupping is you need to burn a paper to generate heat so that when you put cups on skin, it sucks skin into cups. If not done properly, it could burn your skin due to heat. The new version of Cupping tool is a much better one-you can do it by yourself and don't have to worry about skin burning issue. 


Many celebrities use Chinese cupping to detoxify and relax their body and release pain. Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lena Dunham are big fans of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It normally works great for issues like stress, muscle pain, soft tissue injuries, etc.  

Here's what I did-I use Chinese medicine-cupping for pain caused by tennis elbow and shoulder:

1. Find the spots that hurt

  • For tennis elbow, I choose 2-3 spots-one is elbow area, another spot is 1 inch below elbow (where you normally put the supporting band) and the 3rd spot is the spot next to the 2nd spot, horizontally. No need to worry the accuracy of spots. If you don't know where to do cupping, you can choose multiple spots around the pain spots. see my pictures below

If you have any professional instructions from Traditional Chinese medicine doctors or self-guided books, that would be ideal. 


2. Choose the right cup size-for elbow area, I use smaller cups and sometimes need silicon band to help secure the cup on skin. 

3. Put cup on spot 1. Follow the instruction to suck the air out. You should feel skin being pinched, a bit intense. Stop contracting air until you can't handle it. It feels a little bit better after few minutes. It takes about 10-15 minutes for each session. You can do multiple spots at once. Or do it one by one.


 (it does look like I have been attacked by someone;))

4. Normally you do cupping daily until you don't need it any more. 

I did feel much better after cupping. It helps me to release the pain quickly without taking any medicines. There's no side effects as compared to pain killer pills. 

Have you ever tried any Traditional Chinese medicine in your life? Please share your experience in comments.

Image credits:

Customer Service
Customer Service


2 Responses

Tennis Elbow
Tennis Elbow

July 10, 2017

We now have a fairly easy technique for correcting your tennis elbow trouble having an effortless solution.
Tennis Elbow


January 02, 2017

You wrote: “I use smaller cups and sometimes need silicon band to help secure the cup on skin.” Where can I get a silicon band? I have the cups, but no silicon band.

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