If you watched the Olympics in Rio this year, you know everyone was talking about it. No, not the Ryan Lochte disgrace, I’m talking about those red or purple circular marks on many Olympians’ backs. They were from cupping therapy, an ancient Chinese healing practice. The marks spurred interest in the ancient therapy, we even had a reader email us asking if we knew a local place to try it. There is! You can try cupping therapy in Montclair at the NJ Acupuncture and Wellness Center at 70 Park Street.

Thanks @arschmitty for my cupping today!!! #mpswim #mp ? @chasekalisz

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

Patti Safian, a licensed acupuncturist, is the owner of the center, which offers acupuncture, yoga, massage, Reiki, Chinese herbs, and offer nutritional counseling. The center specializes in fertility, but also offers works with many clients for various issues and well-being. Safian also hosts workshops, support groups, and classes throughout the year.

To learn more about cupping and acupuncture, I met with Safian and experienced a session.


First, she gave me a thorough health check by asking me various questions, checking my tongue, and examining my body for any tender points. Then I was face down on a table as she performed a combination of cupping and acupuncture to help what my specific issues — upper back and shoulder pain and monthly migraines.  Cupping is believed to enhance circulation, help relieve pain, and pull out the toxins in the body. Acupuncture is meant to help create a mind/body balance.

cupping-nj-acupunctureNJ Acupuncture and Wellness uses disposable acupuncture needles, as well as liners  that fit in the cups to create a hygienic barrier between the tools and the skin. Four cups were placed on my upper back, then Patti used an air pump (she prefers this method to a flame thankfully) to suction the skin like a vacuum, pulling it very taut. And I mean VERY taut. It was a bit uncomfortable at first, but after I relaxed it all felt, well, relaxing. The cups were left in place for a short period and then the suction is released and cups are removed. I was left with four circular bruises, due to the capillaries beneath the surface rupturing.

Here’s my takeaway from the treatment:

  • cuppingAcupuncture needles do not hurt at all.
  • Cupping is a bit uncomfortable, but oddly relaxing. I had pretty bad bruising from the cupping and I was sore the following night — the bruises were tender to the touch. Despite that, my upper back and shoulder did feel looser, in the same way they do after a deep tissue massage. Sore, but in a good way.
  • Do I believe that the acupuncture and cupping actually work to cure health conditions and ailments. I don’t really know for sure, especially after only one treatment, but I do believe that they are definitely stress reducers, and stress is a huge factor in many medical conditions. Eastern medicine effectiveness has its believers and its skeptics.
  • NJ Acupuncture and Wellness is a very professional center. Safian is highly knowledgeable about both Eastern and Western medicine and combines the two in a nice and accessible mix of health and wellness. The use of disposable materials and the cleanliness of the center is highly respectable.


NJ Acupuncture and Wellness Center
70 Park Street, Suite 208, Montclair, NJ, 07042
973. 233.1195  / E-mail:
Service price varies depending on individual needs (ranges from $90 – $150) Insurance accepted for some treatments.







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