Cupping massage is the static or dynamic use of various types of cups to alleviate tension in the body through vacuum pressure. The suction from a cupping Massage creates a kind of reverse massage, pulling the tissue up and creating space, instead of pushing down. Cupping can help with muscle pain, tension, trauma, and injury – especially in the back and shoulders. Another benefit of cupping is that the suction will draw out stagnant blood from the muscle. This allows it to get into the space where the lymphatic system can more easily process it out of the body, which allows for faster healing and the removal of lactic acid and other toxins that build up from muscle metabolism.
In the case of static use, cups will be placed on specific adhesions for two to ten minutes in order to induce tissue relaxation. Static cupping creates a myofascial release, allowing the connective tissue around the muscle to relax, thus making the muscle work in the accompanying massage more effective.
In dynamic cupping, silicone cups are typically used and they are kept in steady motion along the muscle fibers, massaging the muscle. Moving the cups around with the suction helps massage the tissue, gets the blood flowing, and it feels pretty amazing!
Be aware that when there is poor blood flow from stagnation, the cups can leave a red or purple discoloration that looks like a bruise. It’s actually not painful like a bruise because there is no contusion that is causing actual tissue damage. As cupping treatment is continued over time, the color reaction will change as the tissue’s blood flow becomes healthier. Clients that receive regular cupping treatments may end up with no discoloration following their service. If you want to experience cupping, but want to avoid the risk of any discoloration, you can work with your therapist to only implement dynamic cupping.
Cupping is absolutely contraindicated without exception if you are on blood thinners and/or have any type of clotting disorder (both excessive coagulation such as deep vein thrombosis or hemophilia). Therapists cannot work over any bone fractures or lymphedema.