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.  

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.


Acupuncture and Fertility: A Natural Path to Conception

Acupuncture and Fertility: A Natural Path to Conception

In recent years, many individuals have turned towards holistic health practices in their journey towards conception, with acupuncture emerging as a popular and effective method. For women who have been facing challenges in trying to conceive, acupuncture offers a natural and gentle approach to fertility enhancement, rooted in ancient traditions yet supported by modern research.

Acupuncture can be an integral part of your fertility journey. In this article we will highlight its benefits, the science behind it, and how it complements conventional fertility treatments.

Understanding Acupuncture and Its Role in Fertility

acupuncture for fertility

Acupuncture, a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), involves the insertion of very thin needles into specific points on the body. It’s based on the principle of balancing the body’s energy flow (Qi) to improve health and well-being. When it comes to fertility, acupuncture is believed to have a multifaceted impact, addressing both physical and emotional aspects of conception.

How Acupuncture Enhances Fertility

Regulating Hormonal Balance: One of the primary ways acupuncture aids fertility is by helping to regulate hormonal balance. It can influence the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis, which plays a critical role in the menstrual cycle and ovulation. By promoting hormonal equilibrium, acupuncture can encourage regular ovulation and healthy menstrual cycles, which are essential for conception.

Improving Blood Flow to Reproductive Organs: Acupuncture is known to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, enhancing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the ovaries and uterus. This improved circulation can help create a more favorable environment for egg quality, fertilization, and implantation.

Stress Reduction: The fertility journey can be emotionally taxing, leading to stress that can adversely affect hormonal balance and ovulation. Acupuncture has been shown to trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural stress-relievers, promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels, which is beneficial for fertility.

Supporting IVF Treatments: For those undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technologies (ART), acupuncture can be a supportive therapy.

Research suggests that acupuncture, when used in conjunction with IVF, can improve the success rate of embryo implantation and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Addressing Underlying Health Issues: Acupuncture can also tackle underlying health conditions that may affect fertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and thyroid disorders. By targeting these conditions, acupuncture can further enhance fertility potential

Integrating Acupuncture into Your Fertility Plan

If you’re considering acupuncture as part of your fertility journey, it’s essential to consult with a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. A personalized treatment plan will be developed based on your unique health profile, fertility goals, and any ongoing fertility treatments.

Embracing a Holistic Approach

While acupuncture can play a crucial role in enhancing fertility, it’s most effective when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques can all contribute to improving your overall fertility health. Additionally, considering other complementary therapies, such as herbal medicine (under the guidance of a healthcare professional), can further support your journey towards conception.


For women who have been striving to conceive, acupuncture offers a promising and supportive path towards achieving their fertility goals. With its ability to regulate hormonal balance, improve blood flow, reduce stress, and complement conventional fertility treatments, acupuncture embodies a holistic approach to fertility enhancement. By integrating acupuncture into your fertility plan, you embrace a journey that not only aims at conception but also at nurturing your overall well-being. Remember, every fertility journey is unique, and acupuncture can be a valuable ally in navigating the path to parenthood with grace, balance, and hope.

We’ve walked alongside 100’s of women during the fertility process. In most cases, pregnancy can occur within 3-9 months.

From the lows to the highs we are with you every step of the way to your bundle of joy.  Book your consultation today and start your journey to fertility with us.

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Acupuncture and Peripheral Neuropathy

Acupuncture and Peripheral Neuropathy

Think of nerves like the electrical cable of your body. They transport electrical impulses from the brain, helping you feel sensations and move your muscles, breathe, sweat, and digest food. Sometimes, the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves) get damaged. This damage can come from diabetes, injuries, infections, and exposure to toxins. The result is sensations of weakness, numbness, and pain, often in the hands and feet. In some cases, peripheral neuropathy can impact digestion, urination, cognition, and circulation.

Peripheral neuropathy is a progressive, chronic condition. For a long time, treatments were limited to medications – antidepressants, pain medication, anti-seizure medications, and topical creams. While those can be helpful, they tend to treat the symptoms, and may not be effective in slowing or reversing the progression of the disease.

Treating peripheral neuropathy is one of our specialties at Affinity Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine in Nashville. Our team has specialized training in using acupuncture and supportive therapies, and has helped countless individuals not just relieve pain and discomfort, but also slow the progression of the nerve damage. We’ve even had clients who used wheelchairs when they began treatment, and improve enough to walk independently again.

Acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment free of the side effects that come with many medications. It can help the body recover from trauma, both acute and chronic. We use fine, micro-filament needles to help improve circulation and stimulate the nerve pathways. Acupuncture can also re-stimulate damaged nerve fibers and prevent them from dying off, in some cases slowing and reversing the progression of peripheral neuropathy.

If you or someone you know is living with peripheral neuropathy, acupuncture might be an effective treatment option. You can call our office at 615-939-2787 to set up an initial consultation with William. He works with clients to develop a specialized treatment plan specific to each individual’s needs. Our goal is to help you live your best life, and provide you with care, support, and expertise along the way.