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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Sunnybrook

5885 Sunnybrook Drive
Sioux City, IA 51106

Current Estimated Wait:
1 hr 4 min

Ancient Therapy Offered to Manage Pain and More

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Cupping dates back thousands of years and is offered by UnityPoint Health physical therapist


A therapy that can be traced back thousands of years is gaining traction in the Siouxland region. Called cupping, the therapy involves using suction to pull blood into the skin to stimulate a response from the body that promotes healing. The therapy is most often used on the back, stomach, and arms and legs to ease pain, headaches, and other issues.

At UnityPoint Health, the procedure is offered by Dr. Heather Rush, PT, DPT, of Physical Therapy at Sunnybrook Medical Plaza. Rush places a cup on the area to be treated. Inside the cup, a vacuum pump creates a suction force to pull the skin upward.

“This is an ancient technique that we have seen success with for a range of conditions,” Rush says. “We have seen improvement both for acute injuries like muscle strains and activity-related soreness, and for a wide variety of chronic conditions.”

Cupping is most often used to relieve pain but has also helped to reduce symptoms of chronic conditions like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines and more.

“The procedure is relatively painless,” Rush says. “You can expect to experience some pressure as the blood is pulled into the skin and the tiny blood vessels in the area are broken open. You will also have round, bruise-like marks in the area treated for a week or two, but those will fade as time passes.”

Some patients do report mild soreness after cupping, but it typically does not limit mobility or quality of life in the hours and days after the procedure.

“This is a therapy that, literally, has been used for thousands of years to address pain and many other common conditions,” says Rush, who has specialized training in cupping. “The key is receiving treatment from a professional who has experience with cupping. This can greatly reduce the likelihood of side effects, like skin infection, that may require intervention.”

Those interested in exploring cupping should visit with their primary care provider to discuss whether it is an option for them and to obtain a referral to Physical Therapy at Sunnybrook Medical Plaza.

Rush recommends patients ask questions prior to their first treatment including what conditions cupping can be used for, what her training is, how much experience she has, and what the standard course of cupping treatment is for their condition.

“We want to be sure our patients are comfortable receiving the treatment,” Rush says. “We are always open to questions and to providing a detailed explanation of what our treatment plan is and what issues we are working to address.”

To learn more about cupping and other therapies offered at Physical Therapy at Sunnybrook Medical Plaza, visit: www.unitypoint.org


A therapy that can be traced back thousands of years is gaining traction in the Siouxland region. Called cupping, the therapy involves using suction to pull blood into the skin to stimulate a response from the body that promotes healing. The therapy is most often used on the back, stomach, and arms and legs to ease pain, headaches, and other issues.

At UnityPoint Health, the procedure is offered by Dr. Heather Rush, PT, DPT, of Physical Therapy at Sunnybrook Medical Plaza. Rush places a cup on the area to be treated. Inside the cup, a vacuum pump creates a suction force to pull the skin upward.

“This is an ancient technique that we have seen success with for a range of conditions,” Rush says. “We have seen improvement both for acute injuries like muscle strains and activity-related soreness, and for a wide variety of chronic conditions.”

Cupping is most often used to relieve pain but has also helped to reduce symptoms of chronic conditions like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines and more.

“The procedure is relatively painless,” Rush says. “You can expect to experience some pressure as the blood is pulled into the skin and the tiny blood vessels in the area are broken open. You will also have round, bruise-like marks in the area treated for a week or two, but those will fade as time passes.”

Some patients do report mild soreness after cupping, but it typically does not limit mobility or quality of life in the hours and days after the procedure.

“This is a therapy that, literally, has been used for thousands of years to address pain and many other common conditions,” says Rush, who has specialized training in cupping. “The key is receiving treatment from a professional who has experience with cupping. This can greatly reduce the likelihood of side effects, like skin infection, that may require intervention.”

Those interested in exploring cupping should visit with their primary care provider to discuss whether it is an option for them and to obtain a referral to Physical Therapy at Sunnybrook Medical Plaza.

Rush recommends patients ask questions prior to their first treatment including what conditions cupping can be used for, what her training is, how much experience she has, and what the standard course of cupping treatment is for their condition.

“We want to be sure our patients are comfortable receiving the treatment,” Rush says. “We are always open to questions and to providing a detailed explanation of what our treatment plan is and what issues we are working to address.”

To learn more about cupping and other therapies offered at Physical Therapy at Sunnybrook Medical Plaza, visit: INSERT LINK