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Cupping Therapy with Massage

What is cupping therapy with massage used for?

Cupping is a type of Chinese medicine that originated along with acupuncture.  Cups are placed on the skin to create suction. The suction is created by a small pump that is on the end of the cups. The suction facilitates healing with increased blood flow.

Cupping also helps with the flow of “Qi” (pronounced CHI) in the body. Qi is a Chinese word meaning life force. It is a balance of the Yin and the Yang or the "negative and positive", within the body. Regaining and maintaining a balance between these two opposites helps with the body’s ability to heal as well as increase blood flow and reduce pain by breaking up deep spasms in the muscles. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.

The message with the cupping is done either with the cups themselves while the suction is full or after the cups are removed and massage is done by hand smoothing out all the elevations left from the cupping.


What does Cupping feel like?


Cupping feels like a slight tug on the skin as the suction increases. Because of the increase in circulation the area will start to feel warm. You will feel slow release of muscle tension and pain in the areas the cups are placed.


If you have massage with the cups you will feel pressure of the cups as they are moved across the skin while maintaining the suction.  This type of therapy is great for breaking up spasms in the fascia surrounding the muscles.


once the cups are removed you will hear a small release from the air suction in the cup the muscles in the area will continue to feel warm and relaxed. There will be slight to moderate discoloration of the skin that appears like a bruise. It is actually the increased blood flow to the area. This bruise like this coloring usually lasts about 10 days and is not harmful.


Massage after the cups are removed is done by hand to smooth out the raised circles left by the therapy. This further increases the circulation and spreads it out through the tissue that is being worked on. The cupping feels like when you scratch an itch and it is relieved but the itch is very deep, it is a feeling of deep relaxation and pain relief.

What conditions can cupping treat?


Cupping can treat a wide variety of conditions. It is effective at musculoskeletal aches and pain, trigger points and tight muscles.

Since many times the cups may be applied to major acupressure points, the practice is possibly effective at treating digestive issues, skin issues, and other conditions commonly treated with acupressure but without the needles.

Are there any side effects of cupping?

Cupping can create a bruising effect or hematoma on the skin but this is not permanent and can last about 10 days.

Cupping therapy isn’t recommended for everyone. Use with caution with:

  • Children. Young children should not receive cupping.  Children older than 5 should only be treated for very short periods.

  • Seniors have thinning skin as they age so use precaution for these patients

  • Pregnant women. Avoid cupping the abdomen and lower back.


Avoid Cupping if you have: 

  • a sunburn

  • a wound

  • a skin ulcer

  • experienced recent trauma

  • taking blood-thinning medication

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