Health Traditions with Bruce Bentley, Western Tradition

Western Tradition

Traditional cupping workshops

Traditional cupping in Sicily

Day One:

  • The history and social relations of cupping - including a collection of slides featuring cupping from the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London.
  • Traditional Western reasons why cupping is beneficial.
  • European cupping methods and treatments including traditional Greek and Bulgarian methods for treating colds and muscular pains.
  • Russian cupping massage - learn a massage sequence using sliding cups for the entire back & hip area. This technique is deep and rejuvenating, wonderful to receive and easy for the practitioner to achieve great results for stress relief and muscular tightness. It is especially effective for strong bodied people. In the history of cupping, this method of using cups as a cupping massage was first developed by the Russians centuries ago, and this unique sequence was passed down to Bruce by Dr Lena Volodina, inaugural Head of the Folk Medicine Department at Moscow university.

Day Two:

  • Scientific interpretations of the action and benefits of cupping.
  • Heating the cups to to rub and warm cold areas of weakness such as the lower back.
  • Methods to release fascia and soft tissue tightness including special methods for releasing trigger points.
  • Treatment for clearing adhessions & restoring integrity to scar tissue
  • Myofascial and stationary cupping combined with muscle stretching for treating sports injuries such as plantar fasciitis, ilio-tibial band syndrome and compartment syndrome.

Background: In 1996 Bruce completed his thesis for a Masters Degree in Health Studies (Latrobe University) titled ‘Cupping as Therapeutic Technology’. In this thesis Bruce examined the Western tradition of Cupping from early Egyptian and Greek times up until the 1880's, when the emerging scientific medical fraternity began a process whereby all previously held medical beliefs and practices were criticized and discredited in order to gain medical dominance. As part of this thesis, Bruce also interviewed many European practitioners of cupping residing in Australia. The following year he visited the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to observe how the massage therapists there, employ cupping to treat sports injuries and enhance performance. Midway through 1998, Bruce spent three months in Europe and North Africa. The first month was devoted to archival research at the Welcome Institute for the History of Medicine (the world’s premier library and research centre for medical history), London, and the Department for the History of Medicine at Rome University. For the remaining two months he travelled to Sicily, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia learning local cupping traditions. Since then, he has continued to do much research on the practice. The Western cupping workshop is designed to re-introduce practitioners to this 'lost' legacy, as well as to introduce new practices based on modern innovations and clinical practice.

To this day, this Western Tradition Cupping Workshop is the only course on this subject in the world.

Enrolment requirements:

Berber cupping woman in Morocco holding her large clay cupping vessel
  1. Accredited health professionals such as massage therapists, acupuncturists, doctors, nurses, naturopaths, osteopaths and physiotherapists.
  2. Students of an accredited course of study, who have completed a minimum of 50 hours in anatomy and physiology.

Note: Women who are pregnant should contact Bruce

Professional credits for this course are recognised with:


United States of America

  • The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) - Advanced Educators
  • National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapy
CERTIFICATE OF CUPPING THERAPY: Upon satisfactory completion of any of the Cupping Workshops, an atractive certificate of attendance is given. I addition, upon satisfactory completion of the three cupping workshops ie. the Eastern Traditional Cupping Workshop, the Western Traditional Cupping Workshop and the Contemporary Cupping Concepts - traditional practices refocussed - a CERTIFICATE OF ADVANCED CUPPING THERAPY will be awarded.

Dates and locations

Essay on Cupping published in The Lantern Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine