Cupping treatment involves placing cups on the skin and suction applied, facilitating blood flow and reducing inflammation, tension and pain. It may be used in conjunction with therapeutic relaxation or remedial massage to enhanced a desired effect. 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 the suction applied and is left in place for a period of time.

While cupping 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 and 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 select placement and correctly place the cup directly on skin, most commonly used on the back and shoulders. The cup is directly placed on the intended area to be treated and mechanical suction is applied.

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

Fixed cupping is the most common cupping method used at the clinic. This involves applying the cup directly to the site of pain or dysfunction and it is maintained for 3-5 minutes in a fixed or 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, which is then moved along the skin to treat the affected region. This approach is used more for its relaxation, stretching and blood flow effects and 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 associated with fixed cupping. 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 and similar types of presentations.

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

– Hairy areas.
– Bony regions not protected by adequate soft tissue structures.
– It is not to be used in pregnancy on the abdomen or lumbar region.
– If you are on blood thinning medication or have a blood disorder.
– It is not typically used on children or with older adults.

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