What is Cupping and how does it work?

Cupping is an ancient technique and the oldest and most globally practiced medical treatment in human history. Cupping Massage is a modified version of the common practice of Cupping Therapy and has now been safely adapted to use in massage therapy. The therapeutic applications of cupping have been documented through several thousand years of clinical experience and the results that this treatment produces are impressive.

Cupping is a technique whereby a vacuum is created in a cup, drawing the skin up into the cup and separating the layers of skin, muscle, and fascia. This release of tissue breaks up and drains stagnant tissue fluid while increasing blood flow and lymph flow to the skin and muscles. No breaks in the skin are created and it is a perfectly safe and sterile procedure.  When the cup is left on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed, and localized healing takes place. Client will most likely be left with a mark from the cupping that will look like a bruise but is not. The discoloration can last for up to two weeks. The pulling action of the cups also engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows for deep relaxation of the mind and body.

Our Registered Massage Therapist Alexandrea Bédard is offering Cupping Massage and Cupping Therapy.


The Benefits of Cupping

  • Reduces pain from muscle spasm, cramps, and tightness
  • Reduces pain by breaking up adhesions and chronic scar tissue and loosens layers of tissue
  • Increases range of motion of joints in the area and reduces stiffness
  • Increases the function of sebaceous and sweat glands allowing the skin to breath
  • Diminishes cellulite
  • Brings fresh blood to the muscles
  • Has effects on the nervous system which allows relaxation and reduces stress
  • Accelerates healing of injured muscles
  • A favorite area for massage cupping is on the broad area of the back. Larger cups are used for this, and a strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep-tissue massage without any discomfort. The movement may be long and intended to drain fluid, or circular and stimulating for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue. The skin will turn red with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are new to Cupping Massage or Cupping Therapy, we understand that you might have some questions. We are confident that we have the answers to your inquiries.

Below are the answers to the questions that are most commonly asked about Cupping Massage and Cupping Therapy. Should you have additional questions please feel free to contact us.

The most common and unfortunate misconception concerning Cupping is the misinterpretation of the marks sometimes resulting from the treatment. THESE DISCOLORATIONS ARE NOT BRUISES. When injuries occur deep in the muscle, bleeding often occurs from breakage of the capillaries. There is no compression in cupping therapy and therefore no bruise. The discolorations are more like a hickey. When a condition exists where sufficient pathological factors and stagnant fluids are present and a vacuum is applied to the area, a discoloration will appear on the skin as the stagnation is brought up to the surface. This is the therapeutically desired effect. Healthy tissue does not discolor. Massage cupping is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out; it does not add to it.

Cupping Massage is a massage that includes Cupping Therapy throughout the session.

Cupping Therapy is the full session time dedicated to Cupping Therapy.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! While it’s always important to stay hydrated, it’s especially important anytime you’re getting bodywork. Drink plenty of room-temperature water before your session. This will help your body flush out what has been drawn up to the surface during cupping.
  • Eat during the day before your treatment. Cupping on an empty stomach can
    cause dizziness or nausea.
  • Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to your treatment.
  • Drink plenty of room-temperature water for 24-48 hours after treatment. This will help your body flush out what has been drawn up to the surface during cupping.
  • Have a snack afterwards and a full healthy meal that evening.
  • Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours after treatment.
  • Take it easy and avoid vigorous exercise immediately after the session. Walking, stretching, gentle yoga, or other gentle movements that align with your abilities and mobility are great options if you want to move after your treatment.⠀
  • Avoid drafts, sitting in front of fans or in windy places, or getting chilled, especially after a treatment. Cupping opens the pores and the channels, making the body vulnerable to attack from outside influence like wind and cold. These environmental factors can trigger stiffness and pain and reduce the flow of energy and blood – so, keep the area covered and stay warm.
  • Avoid showering or swimming the rest of the day after your treatment. For the same reason that avoiding wind and cold is important, avoiding dampness from water and getting chilled from being wet, is important.
  • If you have any soreness post-session or if your cupping marks are very dark, massaging arnica gel, cream, or oil into the area can help promote healing and reduce any discomfort. You can also use a heating pad or hot water bottle on the cupped areas to help promote circulation and relax the muscles.
  • Tell your practitioner if you’ve ever experienced discomfort after cupping, or tend to respond strongly to acupuncture, cupping, or bodywork. Treatments can easily be modified to be more gentle and still very effective.

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