Justin Bieber and Abdominal Cupping

By Dr. Ashley Heintz

Luckily for me, cupping is getting trendier. Not only are Instagram selfies of cupping marks becoming more prevalent #hollistic. But there is also lots of research being done. Over the last few years there have been dozens of clinical studies done testing the efficacy of cupping. The results have been exciting to say the least. Nine studies done on herpes zoster alone!

Like acupuncture, cupping is utilizing the body’s own healing mechanisms. It is not adding or taking anything away.  Picking up muscle, manipulating blood, increasing circulation, and alleviating stagnation is why it’s so effective at treating back pain.

But why would someone get cupping on their stomach? Why Bieber?

Your organs are muscle and they need massage too. Just like your shoulders get tense and knotted with stress and inactivity, so can your diaphragm or colon. The suction provided by the cups can reach up to 4 inches of soft tissue. I could literally pick up your spleen and shake it. I wouldn’t do that but imagine how that could help with constipation.

The negative pressure over the abdomen stimulates the digestive and respiratory organs. This results in an increase of peristaltic activity, the secretion of digestive fluids, absorption of nutrients and water, the secretion of bile and the elimination of toxins. How this manifests for the patient is a clearing of the intestines or colon, relieving indigestion, the breaking down of fatty deposits, the relief of bloating and stomach pain and a calming of the nervous system.

Now that science is discovering depression and anxiety are linked to gut inflammation we can understand why cupping has been considered a formidable treatment for depression and anxiety. According to Chinese medicine negative emotions are the culprit for all physiological malfunction.  Every emotion affects different organs.  Anger the liver, worry the spleen, grudges the large intestine, fear the kidneys and analysis paralysis the gallbladder. All these negative emotions eventually cause stagnation in these organs and in their energetic meridians. This stagnation manifests into pain and impaired function.  Cupping the abdomen releases trapped emotions that are stuck in the gut.

We already have a language for this in the West, gut instincts or trusting your gut. After cupping or certain acupuncture treatments many patients will report feeling blue for a day. Dreaming about an ex-lover or thinking about their estranged dads. Usually things they thought they were over but were suppressed in their sub-conscience (or colons and kidney’s in this case.) Just like most types of psychotherapy,  you must bring those uncomfortable feelings to the exterior before you can let them go. Chinese medicine uses your body’s intelligence rather than your conscience mind to surface negative emotions so that they can be released. Extract and repair!

If this is too whimsical for my left brainers then we can at least talk about the vagus nerve and how it connects the brain to the heart, lungs, stomach and intestines. Or just think about anyone you know who is super anxious or has OCD, don’t they also always have IBS?

So maybe Justin Bieber was constipated or lethargic. Maybe he wanted to lose a few lbs. Maybe he wanted to relax his diaphragm after months of singing on tour. Or,  this is a reach, maybe he wanted a little help detoxing after being on a Hennessy binder. All things you can use abdominal cupping for too.





Side note: Everyone needs to cut Justin Bieber some slack. This kid was 12 when he became famous and at that time half the population was over sexualizing him and the other half was calling him a pansy (way worse names than that.) He was 12!  Have a heart people and try abdominal cupping. 😊


1. https://www.b ellabaci.com/can-cupping-help-digestive-system/
2. https://drax e.com/cupping-therapy/
3. https://www.m assagemag.com/use-massage-cups-to-unlock-abdominal-stagnation-11505/

  1. Hao P, Yang Y, Guan L. Effects of bloodletting pricking, cupping and surrounding acupuncture on inflammation-related indices in peripheral and local blood in patients with acute herpes zoster. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2016 Jan;36(1):37-40.

5.Y., Kim J., Lee H. A herpes simplex virus infection secondary to acupuncture and cupping. Ann Dermatol. 2011;23:67–69.