Acupuncture with Cupping: A Comprehensive Guide

Acupuncture with Cupping: A Comprehensive Guide

Acupuncture and cupping are two ancient therapies rooted in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), renowned for their holistic approach to health and well-being. While acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body, cupping uses suction cups to create a vacuum on the skin, promoting circulation and healing. Combining these two therapies can offer a powerful synergy, enhancing their individual benefits and providing comprehensive treatment for various conditions.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a core practice within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been utilized for over 2,000 years. It is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is considered the vital life force that circulates through the body via pathways known as meridians. According to classical TCM, health is achieved when Qi is balanced and flows freely, whereas blockages or imbalances in Qi can result in illness.

From a modern medical perspective, acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on the body, known as acupuncture points. These points are strategically located along meridians that correspond to various muscles, organs, fascial planes, and systems. The stimulation of these points is believed to activate the body’s natural healing mechanisms, modulate pain, and promote overall health and well-being.

Acupuncture is Doctor Approved & Recommended

Research has suggested that acupuncture may influence the nervous system, enhance blood circulation, and trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals. It is often used as a complementary treatment for pain management, stress relief, oncology support and various chronic conditions.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is another ancient TCM practice, dating back at least 3,000 years. It involves placing cups on the skin to create a suction effect. This suction draws blood to the surface, encouraging better circulation and aiding in the healing process.

Cupping with Acupuncture Treatments

There are two main types of cupping: dry cupping and wet cupping. Dry cupping involves creating a vacuum inside a cup, which is then placed on the skin. Wet cupping, also known as hijama, includes a small incision on the skin before applying the cup, allowing a small amount of blood to be drawn out.  We do not do wet cupping at Affinity Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine.

The Synergy of Acupuncture and Cupping

When combined, acupuncture and cupping can complement each other, offering enhanced therapeutic benefits. The combination therapy is often used to treat a wide range of conditions, from chronic pain and inflammation to stress and anxiety. Here’s how they work together:

Enhanced Blood Flow: Acupuncture can stimulate blood flow to specific areas, while cupping can enhance circulation by drawing blood to the surface. Together, they improve overall blood circulation, which is essential for healing.

Pain Relief: Both therapies are effective for pain management. Acupuncture releases endorphins and other natural painkillers, while cupping relieves muscle tension and reduces inflammation. Combining them can provide more comprehensive pain relief.

Stress Reduction: Acupuncture balances the nervous system, reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Cupping complements this by relieving physical tension and improving sleep quality.

Conditions Treated with Acupuncture and Cupping

Chronic Pain: Conditions like back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia can be effectively managed with this combination therapy. The dual approach helps reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and promote healing.

Respiratory Issues: Acupuncture and cupping can help treat respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and colds by improving lung function and enhancing immune response.

Mental Health: Stress, anxiety, and depression can be alleviated through the calming effects of acupuncture and the physical relaxation provided by cupping.

Sports Injuries: Athletes often use acupuncture and cupping to speed up recovery from injuries, reduce muscle soreness, and enhance overall performance.

The Acupuncture and Cupping Session

A typical session combining acupuncture and cupping begins with a thorough consultation. The practitioner assesses the patient’s health history, symptoms, and goals to develop a personalized treatment plan. Here’s what to expect during the treatment:

Preparation: The patient lies comfortably on a treatment table, and the practitioner cleans the areas to be treated.

Acupuncture: The practitioner inserts fine needles into specific acupuncture points. The needles are usually left in place for 10-30 minutes.

Cupping: After removing the needles, the practitioner applies cups to the skin. The cups may be left in place for 5-15 minutes, depending on the condition being treated.

Aftercare: The practitioner may provide advice on self-care, such as keeping certain areas covered, avoiding strenuous activities, and monitoring any changes in symptoms.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

While acupuncture and cupping are generally safe, they can have some side effects. Common side effects include bruising, soreness, and mild discomfort at the treatment sites. It’s essential to seek treatment from a licensed and experienced practitioner to minimize risks.

Scientific Evidence and Research

Numerous studies have investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture and cupping. Research indicates that acupuncture can effectively manage pain, reduce inflammation, and improve overall well-being. Cupping has also been shown to enhance blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation.

One study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that combining acupuncture and cupping significantly reduced pain and improved quality of life in patients with chronic pain conditions. Another study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine demonstrated that the combination therapy effectively treated respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis.


Acupuncture and cupping are powerful therapies with a long history of promoting health and well-being. When used together, they offer a synergistic approach to treating various conditions, from chronic pain and respiratory issues to mental health and sports injuries. By stimulating the body’s natural healing processes, enhancing circulation, and promoting relaxation, this combination therapy provides a holistic path to better health.

If you’re considering acupuncture and cupping, consult with a qualified practitioner to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. With the right approach, you can experience the profound benefits of these ancient therapies and embark on a journey toward optimal health and well-being.

If you or someone you know is dealing with any of these ailments, make an appointment today and let us show you how we can help!  Call 615-939-2787 to get started today.  

Understanding Acupuncture Needles: What You Need to Know

Understanding Acupuncture Needles: What You Need to Know

Acupuncture is a time-tested therapeutic practice that offers numerous health benefits, from pain relief to stress reduction. If you’re considering acupuncture in Brentwood or Nashville, TN, it’s essential to understand the tools involved, especially the needles. This blog will answer common questions about acupuncture needles, including their size, whether they are reused, if they hurt, and sanitation practices, helping you feel informed and confident in your treatment choice.

What Are Acupuncture Needles?

Acupuncture needles are specifically designed for the practice of acupuncture. Unlike hypodermic needles used for injections, they are thin, solid, and flexible, typically made of stainless steel. Their unique design allows for a painless and effective treatment experience. The needles are incredibly fine, often as thin as a human hair, making them much less intimidating than traditional needles.

Needle Sizes and Uses

Acupuncture needles come in various sizes, tailored to different treatments and areas of the body. Common needle lengths range from 0.5 to 2.5 inches, with diameters varying from 0.16 to 0.46 millimeters.

Acupuncturists select the sizes based on several factors, including the treatment area, the addressed condition, and patient comfort. For instance, shorter needles might be used for facial acupuncture, while longer ones are preferred for deeper muscle treatments. The choice of needle size ensures that each treatment is both safe and effective.

Do Acupuncture Needles Hurt?

One of the most frequent questions is, “Does acupuncture hurt?” The sensation experienced during acupuncture is generally mild and quite different from the pain associated with hypodermic needles. Patients might feel a slight tingling, warmth, or pressure at the insertion site.

Many describe the sensation as relaxing rather than painful. Skilled acupuncturists use gentle insertion techniques and guide tubes to minimize discomfort. Testimonials from patients often highlight the surprising ease and comfort of the experience.

Are Acupuncture Needles Reused?

A common concern is whether acupuncture needles are reused. The answer is a resounding no. Modern acupuncture practices adhere to strict hygiene standards, utilizing single-use, disposable needles. These needles are pre-sterilized and sealed in individual packaging, ensuring they remain uncontaminated until use.

Regulatory bodies such as the FDA and acupuncture associations mandate these practices, prioritizing patient safety. Using disposable needles eliminates the risk of cross-contamination and infection, providing peace of mind for patients.

Sanitation and Safety Measures

Sanitation and safety are paramount in acupuncture practice. Before each use, acupuncture needles are sterilized, and clinics maintain rigorous hygiene protocols. Treatment rooms are kept clean, and practitioners use gloves and hand sanitizers to prevent any form of contamination.

It’s crucial to choose a licensed and certified acupuncturist to ensure these standards are met. Look for credentials such as certification from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) or state licensing, which indicate a commitment to professional and safe practices.

Additional Information

Here are some frequently asked questions about acupuncture needles:

How many needles are used in a typical session?

  • The number of needles used can vary widely depending on the treatment plan, ranging from a few to several dozen.

Can acupuncture needles cause infections?

  • When administered by a certified acupuncturist who follows proper sanitation protocols, the risk of infection is extremely low.

Understanding acupuncture needles can alleviate many concerns and enhance your treatment experience. Remember, acupuncture is a safe and effective method for addressing various health issues, especially when performed by a qualified professional.


Acupuncture needles are a critical component of this ancient healing practice. Knowing about their sizes, single-use policy, minimal discomfort, and stringent sanitation measures can help you make an informed decision about seeking acupuncture treatment. If you’re in Brentwood, TN, and considering acupuncture, rest assured that you’re choosing a safe and beneficial path to wellness.

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Harnessing the Healing Power of Acupuncture for Cancer Patients

Harnessing the Healing Power of Acupuncture for Cancer Patients

The journey through cancer treatment can be challenging. But acupuncture can be a beacon of light for those navigating cancer treatments. It’s a journey that’s not just about the body but also touches the heart and mind. Let’s explore how acupuncture for cancer patients is a caring companion, offering a helping hand to ease this path.

Acupuncture for cancer patients

Understanding Acupuncture

Rooted in ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture’s approach to healing involves the insertion of fine needles into precise points on the body, aiming to restore the flow of vital energy, encouraging energy to flow smoothly again. This practice has made its way from the past into modern healing, earning its place as a trusted treatment in the healthcare world. It’s especially kind to those facing cancer, offering its support like a steady hand to hold.

How Does Acupuncture Lend Its Support to Cancer Treatment?

Managing Pain: Pain is a frequent visitor for many battling cancer, often lingering and unwelcome. Research has shown that acupuncture can reduce cancer-related pain levels by up to 36%, with effects lasting several months post-treatment. This reduction is attributed to controlling endorphins and other neurotransmitters influencing pain perception. It’s like the body’s natural way of turning down the volume of pain.

Easing Cancer Treatment Side Effects: The rough waves of cancer treatment often bring nausea and fatigue. But did you know that the most studied area of acupuncture is how it can affect these symptoms? Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the feeling of nausea by 30%. Furthermore,  fatigue, another common side effect, saw significant improvement in patients undergoing regular acupuncture sessions, enhancing their overall quality of life during chemotherapy.

Immune Support: Exciting research is shining a light on acupuncture’s potential to enhance the performance of our immune system, playing a crucial role in our body’s battle against cancer. It’s been found that acupuncture sessions may lead to a notable boost in key immune cells, such as natural killer cells and lymphocytes. This improvement in immune function supports the body in its defense against cancer and offers a helping hand in counteracting the immune-weakening impacts of certain cancer therapies. Acupuncture offers hope and additional support to those navigating this journey.

Stress Reduction and Emotional Support: The emotional journey that accompanies a cancer diagnosis and treatment is profound and deeply personal. In these moments, finding solace and support is crucial. Acupuncture can significantly ease the feelings of anxiety and depression that many cancer patients experience. Research reveals that patients embracing acupuncture have seen their anxiety levels decrease by 20%, a testament to its potential to offer not just physical but emotional and psychological comfort. In the face of life’s toughest challenges, acupuncture can help guide you toward a place of calm and resilience.

Wrapping It Up

Using acupuncture for cancer offers many benefits from easing pain, calming storms of side effects, strengthening immune function, and offering a serene space for your heart and mind. These effects show its value in comprehensive cancer care.

As ongoing research shows us the full scope of acupuncture’s impact, integrating it alongside conventional treatments promises to optimize patient outcomes and improve the quality of life for those on the cancer journey.

If you or someone you know is dealing with cancer, make an appointment today and let us show you how it can make a difference while you go through cancer treatment.


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What Problems Does Acupuncture Treat?

What Problems Does Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture, a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine, has traversed centuries, evolving from ancient art to a modern-day therapeutic practice recognized globally. This technique involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to stimulate healing and wellness. Despite its historical roots, acupuncture has gained widespread acceptance in Western medicine due to its effectiveness in treating a variety of ailments. Below, we explore what problems does acupuncture treat.

Pain Management

One of the most common applications of acupuncture is in pain relief. Numerous studies have demonstrated its efficacy in treating chronic pain conditions, including:

Chronic back pain: Acupuncture can help reduce the intensity and frequency of back pain by promoting blood flow and triggering the release of natural painkillers in the body.

Arthritis: Particularly for osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, acupuncture has shown promise in reducing pain and improving mobility.

Headaches and migraines: Regular acupuncture sessions can decrease the frequency and severity of migraines and tension-type headaches.

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Acupuncture is known for its ability to reduce stress and improve emotional health by balancing the body’s energy or Qi. The practice is believed to stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, which can change the experience of stress, and promote physical and emotional well-being.

Stress: By reducing stress hormone levels, acupuncture can help mitigate the physical and psychological impacts of stress.

Anxiety and depression: Several studies suggest that acupuncture can have a positive effect on anxiety and depression, making it a complementary treatment for these conditions.

Digestive Disorders

Acupuncture has been found useful in managing various gastrointestinal disorders by enhancing digestive functions and alleviating symptoms of discomfort.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and irregular bowel movements can be effectively managed with acupuncture.

Nausea and vomiting: Especially postoperative nausea and chemotherapy-induced nausea, acupuncture at specific points has been shown to be particularly beneficial.

Respiratory Conditions

Traditional Chinese medicine uses acupuncture to treat and manage symptoms of several respiratory conditions.

Allergic rhinitis: Acupuncture may help improve symptoms of nasal congestion, sneezing, and runny nose associated with seasonal allergies.

Asthma: While not a substitute for conventional asthma treatment, acupuncture can be used as a complementary therapy to help manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups.

Fertility and Women’s Health

Acupuncture has been touted for its role in enhancing fertility by improving blood flow to reproductive organs and balancing hormone levels. It is often used in conjunction with other fertility treatments.

Menstrual cramps and PMS: Regular sessions can help alleviate the severity of menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome.

Menopausal symptoms: Acupuncture can help manage symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.


Acupuncture is effective for many health issues. Patients interested in acupuncture should seek treatment from a licensed practitioner to ensure safety and effectiveness. As with any medical treatment, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to see if acupuncture is right for you and how it might fit into your overall health plan.

If you are ready to see how acupuncture can benefit you, schedule a consult today by contacting Affinity Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine at 615-939-2787 and discover how acupuncture can transform your approach to managing ailments, paving the way for a healthier, more vibrant life.


By Dr. William Alexander

Unlocking Relief: How Acupuncture Offers Hope for Chronic Pain Management

Unlocking Relief: How Acupuncture Offers Hope for Chronic Pain Management

In an age where chronic pain emerges as a complex challenge for millions globally, acupuncture stands out as a beacon of hope, blending centuries-old wisdom with contemporary scientific validation. This traditional Chinese medicine technique, known for the strategic insertion of thin needles into the skin, has been widely recognized for its potential to unlock the body’s natural healing mechanisms, offering a path to relief for those grappling with persistent pain.

Life after getting acupuncture to manage chronic pain.

Understanding Acupuncture’s Healing Power
Acupuncture’s principle lies in its ability to stimulate the body’s natural painkillers and enhance blood flow, thereby providing relief from various forms of chronic pain. The practice is believed to activate the release of endorphins—nature’s pain-relieving chemicals—and to influence brain regions responsible for serotonin production, potentially altering pain perception.

The Solid Foundation of Scientific Support
The efficacy of acupuncture in managing chronic pain is not just anecdotal. A pivotal 2012 meta-analysis in the “Archives of Internal Medicine,” involving nearly 18,000 participants, unveiled that acupuncture significantly outperforms sham treatments and no treatment in mitigating chronic pain. This compelling evidence positions acupuncture as a credible referral option for those enduring chronic pain conditions.

Further research, including a 2020 study published in the “Journal of Pain,” has reinforced acupuncture’s role in diminishing pain intensity, boosting functional mobility, and enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals facing chronic pain challenges. These findings underscore acupuncture’s integral place within a holistic treatment regimen for chronic pain management.

Tailored Treatment for Diverse Pain Conditions
Whether it’s the debilitating discomfort of lower back pain, the stiffness and ache of osteoarthritis in the knees, or the recurrent throes of migraines, acupuncture has been endorsed by esteemed bodies like the “American Pain Society” and the “American College of Physicians” as a viable treatment option. Its ability to cater to a broad spectrum of pain conditions highlights the versatility and effectiveness of acupuncture in pain relief endeavors.

Your Next Step Towards a Pain-free Life
Recognizing acupuncture’s potential means turning to trusted, skilled practitioners who can guide your journey to wellness with care and precision. If you’re seeking a holistic approach to manage chronic pain, look no further than Affinity Acupuncture.

Ready to embark on a journey towards healing and relief from chronic pain? Visit Affinity Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine for expert care tailored to your unique needs. Our team of licensed practitioners is dedicated to helping you achieve your wellness goals through personalized acupuncture treatments.

Don’t let chronic pain hold you back any longer. Contact Affinity Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine today at 615-939-2787 and discover how acupuncture can transform your approach to managing chronic pain, paving the way for a healthier, more vibrant life.