Cupping treatment involves placing cups on the skin and the application of suction. This stimulates blood flow and can reduce swelling, tension and pain. In conjunction with therapeutic relaxation or remedial massage, cupping can enhance the effect of treatment. The mouth of the cup is relatively smooth and small, but the body is large. The cup is transparent to allow the practitioner to monitor and control suction and is left in place for a period of time.

While this approach is currently popular amongst many celebrities, it is not new. The father of medicine, Hippocrates (400BC) was familiar with cupping. Reports of cupping have been found in ancient Chinese and Egyptian writings. This modality continues to be a common treatment amongst many cultures worldwide including Japan, China, Germany, Poland, Greece, Turkey and Brazil.

Cupping: what to expect

The practitioner will carefully inspect the skin, select and correctly place the cup, then apply mechanical suction.  Cupping is most commonly in use on the back and shoulders, however the application of cups to the limbs is not unusual.

Some clinics use an open flame method to facilitate the suction method via heat.  Due to safety reasons we opt for a mechanical approach.

Fixed cupping is currently the most common cupping method in use at the clinic. This involves applying the cup directly to the site of pain or tension and remains for 3-5 minutes in a static position. Fixed cupping may leave marks or bruises, this is a normal response and usually fade within a couple of days.

Mobile cupping is another cupping method, whereby massage oil is applied prior to the placement of the cup.  The cup is then moved along the skin to treat the affected region. This approach is used more for its relaxation, stretching and blood flow effects. Mobile cupping may also result in visible marks on the skin.

Cupping precautions

suction cupping massage

Cupping has very few side effects, other than the visible marks (bruising). It is important for practitioners to inspect the health and integrity of your skin first before applying the cups. Cupping is not appropriate for people with the following issues:

– Open wounds, some skin conditions and sunburn.

– Recent direct trauma and inflammation.

– Current infection.

– During time of excess exhaustion or fatigue.

– Your massage therapist will be wary of the following during treatment:

– Hairy areas.

– Bony regions without adequate soft tissue structure protection.

– No abdominal or lumbar cupping in pregnancy.

– If you are on blood thinning medication or have a blood disorder. – Children or older adults are not good candidates for cupping treatment.

We are available to chat about cupping in your treatment, contact our friendly team at any time to discuss relieving pain and tension.