Massage Therapy Services

What Is Cupping?

Massage cupping is a lesser-known treatment that is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. During a massage cupping session, small cups are placed on the skin to create suction. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup loosening the muscles and tissue. This encourages lymph and blood flow, assists in the release of toxins and sedates the nervous system.

Cupping is one of the best deep tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep to help treat pain, deep scar tissues in the muscles and connective tissue, muscle knots, and swelling.

Unlike traditional massage which utilizes downward pressure, cupping uses a negative pressure to lift, open and release the musculature and connective tissue. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. The cups are generally left in place for 5-15 minutes while the patient relaxes.


 Cupping marks

The most common misunderstanding concerning cupping is the marks that often result.

These marks are NOT Bruises!

Bruises are caused by impact trauma, breakage of capillaries and a rush of fluids to the damaged location. There is no compression in cupping. 

When circulation is sluggish or compromised in an area of the body, insufficient oxygen gets to the cells. This results in a local build-up of waste products such as dead, static blood, lymph, cellular debris, and toxins.

Cupping marks indicate that the stagnation or toxins have been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface, allowing fresh oxygenated blood to nourish and heal the underlying areas.

The color and pattern of the marks indicate the level of stagnation in the area, and range from red to dark purple, usually lasting 3 days to a week. If there is no stagnation present, there will only be light pink marks, which disappears in a few minutes to a couple of hours. Sites where there is an old trauma or injury may require multiple cupping treatments to remove all the stagnation.

As treatments accumulate and as the stagnation is released, dispersed and drained only light or no discoloration is likely to occur even though each time the cupping may have been focused on the same area, for the same duration,and with the same amount of suction. This action is clearly the result of having internal unwanted toxins systematically purged.