Cupping is a modality used in physical therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy to elongate muscle tissue and increase circulation so the body can remove waste products from the tissues. The elongation of the tissues helps to relax tight muscles while the increase in circulation helps to bring oxygen to the tissues via the blood stream. Both of these effects of Cupping can help to correct muscle imbalances and reduce pain and muscle tension.
Cupping can leave marks. This type of Cupping is called “Stationary Cupping”. It is generally used after the client has had success with “Massage Cupping” where the therapist glides the cups over the muscles to acclimate the body to negative pressure (aka: suction). Often, clients are pleased with the result from Massage Cupping and feel no need to progress to the more aggressive stationary placement of the cups. Massage Cupping can leave marks as well, but normally it’s much less evident and clients tend to love the work so much that any temporary discoloration is not a problem.
Cupping is a great alternative to deep tissue massage, and may be a better option with more lasting effects for many clients. Initially, a Cupping session is short (5 minutes or so), and generally added to our regular massage sessions. We extend the duration of the Cupping portion of the massage as tolerated by the client over subsequent visits.