Cupping therapy is a medical treatment in which local suction is created on the skin in an effort to increase blood flow to promote healing or restore humoral health balance. It was practiced as early as the Hippocratics and persisted in high medical popularity until the late nineteenth century. This particular kit belonged to Dr. James T. Reeve a physician from Appleton, WI and was donated to the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1952 by his son, J.S. Reeve.
Three tools were necessary for wet cupping. The scarificator released several small, spring-loaded razors to break the skin in order to draw blood. The cup was then attached to the broken skin using flame to create a vacuum. The syringe was then connected to the cup by a small rubber tube and drew blood into the cup.
Dr. Reeve’s kit contained five different sizes and shapes of cups, in addition to the usual scarificator and syringe. The various cups were used depending on where they were to be applied and the amount of fluid to be drawn.
Until the late nineteenth century, cupping was widely used for the treatment of inflammation and deep-seated pain believed to be due to an imbalance of the humors. A physician or barber surgeon would begin cupping by …
Cupping (as well as general bloodletting) declined in the late nineteenth century. Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch’s experiments in pathology demonstrated the existence of foreign bodies and their role disease, called in to question humoral theory. 1 Dr. Ira …
Humoral medicine began in Ancient Greece and continued in popularity until the late nineteenth century. Humoral theory was based on the belief that the body was composed of four humors/temperaments (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, …
Wisconsin Historical Museum object M1961.7/HO5033
Object history created November, 21013
Object history courtesy of