How to Report a Cupping Procedure

May 30, 2017
Rick Gawenda

If you watched the Olympics in the summer of 2016 and especially Michael Phelps, you may be aware of a procedure that he and some of the other swimmers had performed on them called Cupping Therapy. Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. Cupping therapy helps with pain, inflammation, blood flow, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

If a therapist performs cupping therapy as part of a physical therapy plan of care, what CPT code should this be billed under? Is manual therapy the appropriate code or is it considered a type of massage? According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the correct CPT code to bill is

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  1. The course I took from Chris Deprato DPT is called myofascial decompression. It should be documented as MFD (-). You don’t just leave the cups on there. Instead after 2-3 minutes you manipulate the cup over the trigger point and or have the patient do exercise, manually stretch them or do PNF etc to work the tissue against the cup. So then what code is appropriate?

  2. This article was written in 2017. Is there any update to this? We have asked several people in other hospitals and they all seem to do it differently.