contemporary field of wellness and healing arts has embraced and
accentuated another ancient technique that offers very powerful
Massage Cupping is a modified version of the classic "cupping
therapy" which has been utilized in Traditional Chinese
Medicine for several thousands of years. Worldwide uses have also
been recognized in Egypt, India, Tibet, Thailand, Europe, and
Mexico. Native cultures also have documented cupping folk remedies,
blood letting, and the use of leeches for this practice. Overtime,
generations keep extending this simple technique to move blood
and energy (chi or prana) ,disperse internal heat/inflammation,
accelerate proper drainage, renew / nourish tissue cells, and
aide in reconstruction of both muscle and fascia fibers.
Massage Cupping therapy is becoming more recognized as another
tool for massage therapists, bodyworkers, and other health care
providers with manual or electric vacuum methods. When using
these assorted cupping devises, one can work various acupressure
points, meridian channels and zones for reflexology related services.
This negative pressure pulls upward and away from the body surface
which can alleviate the uncomfortable sensations of stagnation,
heaviness, stiffness from congestion, edema and pooling of toxic
build-up and debris which often expresses as skin symptoms of
rashes, allergy, and so on.
When energy (chi) is compromised, blocked, or stuck, it is
believed to contribute to a variety of disturbing conditions ranging
from chronic pain, fatigue, disharmonious emotional/mental states,
stiff muscles and joints, as well as disrupted organ regulation
Once one initiates working with cupping tools such as glass bulb,
plastic, bamboo, latex/silicone, magnetic, etc., they become an
extension of the practioner's own fingers and hands-much like
hot stone therapies.
NOTE: The use or specialization of cups minimizes the stress
and strain of typical bodyworker fatigue, while still allowing
for deeply penetrating maneuvers in shiatsu or similar bodywork
Levels of Work from Cupping:
*Physical * Mental/Emotional *Spiritual
The sensation of massage cupping is often characterized
by a deep warmth and minor tingling a day or two after the session.
This can even be a slight, brief itch while the treatment is in
progress for some individuals.
Cupping itself is not an irritant to the body when applied
properly, as it draws and pulls targeted cells "out".
It is an excellent pairing for contrast therapy with cold compresses
or cooling liniments/essential oils and it can easily be added
to any session in particular the broad area such as the back and
Some have designated Massage Cupping as "dredging the channels"
for it's detoxification attributes.
The predominant treatment is primarily sedating after just
a few minutes, and individuals will often descend into a profound
state of relaxation-almost hypnotic with the electric vacuum modality
in particular, as the machine hum offers a soft "white noise"
vibration to the skin/muscle and bone membranes.
Tandem, also known as four-hand is another specialized modality.
Larger cups can be used on the back/torso area as the strong area
pull sensation mimics the action of deep tissue massage without
the accompanying discomfort, bracing, armoring, or resisting the
stroke by the Practioner. Cupping essentially bypasses this for
The stroke movement may be long, flowing glides which still drain
and reposition fluids. Positions can also be circular, corkscrew,
infinity signs, pop and release, stationary/parked in place, or
a full combination depending on the specific need. Cupping Massage
is, in an odd sense, the opposite of most massage practices that
employ the use of compression, squeezing, skin rolling, pinchment,
taps, etc. These are considered by some authorities as still "superficial"
because cupping can reach as far as four inches into the body
- deep indeed. (In fact, some malpractice insurance will not cover
this application because of the potential powers it has).
With cups, there is a deeper suction effect and lift. As the cups
slide/glide across oiled and lubricated skin, or just remain still
and parked, the suction pressure is able to penetrate far deeper
and wider than any other tool we may offer that does not have
a client cringing.
Massage oils/lotions/balms applied to the skin prior to cupping
application drains, softens, and helps reconstruct fibers and
accelerate drainage of the lymphatic system.
Massage Cupping can aid in numerous conditions:
Pre- and Post - Operative therapies (to shorten recovery time/enhance
Skin toning and firming (cellulite minimized over time)
Scar reduction (pigment/ surface texture/adhesions)
General detoxification (stagnation alleviated)
Release of contracted muscle tissue
Assist with weight loss programs
skin, depending on pigment/melanin, will become flushed pink-to-reddish
and darker red/purple-with use of strong and prolonged cupping
which is an indicator that circulation has been brought quickly
to the visible surface. Occasionally, there is no obvious color
shift- which can indicate a possible blocked channel or low vitality
in that specific region. That zone will likely need further
of high grade liniments, analgesics or essential oils immediately
following a cupping treatment, will aid absorption deep into the
tissue layers- as the dermis has been cleared to some extent.
This increased local blood supply will infuse and nourish the
newly "opened" vessel network. Referrals to allied professional
is common at this point which may include a master herbalist,
colon hydro- therapist, yoga instructor, homeopath, naturopath,
physical therapist, aromatherapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist,
to name a few.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this re-visited technique
is the subtle nuances of the various cup movements. Client's
often loose track of cup location, what type/size, and number
placed upon their body. Creativity and intuition guide the alteration
of pressure, speed, and placement of cups. The edge of the cup(s)
can be manipulated to "scoop" in a traction/spreading
motion or cross fiber movement, while rather vigorous circles
or "lifts" feel marvelous on the hips, thighs, and shoulders.
Long and balanced strokes down the side of the spine and along
the rib cage provide a much needed expansion. This can assist
with better breathing for enriching the bloodstream.
Neck and shoulder tension from extended driving or desk/computer
work is soothed using assorted cups along these muscle groups
always draining at end of segment towards the lymph main ducts
and wells of auxiliary (armpit) and inguinal (groin).
Interestingly, clients often report that this kind of massage
cupping experience remained with them longer than other modalities
and that the results are cumulative with consistent follow-ups.
Self care (home use) cupping is also an option for those impacted
by chronic issues or cellulite conditions. Cupping is never
performed over the carotid artery or jugular vein, nor over open
wounds, or varicose veins. There are contra-indications for magnetic
cups and those with pacemakers or other electrical devises. One
must read and study uses prior to starting ANY cupping devise.
Cupping can be integrated into most modalities and is like having
a second Practioner working-which is exceedingly powerful for
the client and tremendously rewarding for the provider.