Have you ever seen a person covered with mysterious circle-shaped marks on their body and wondered what had happend? Chances are, they’ve had cupping done. It looks painful right? Cupping sucks, quite literally. It sucks for all the right reasons.

Cupping is the application of glass cups to the skins surface through suction. In a typical session, 2-10 cups are applied for 5-20 minutes. Heat is used to create a negative pressure which lifts and stretches the underlying tissue up into the cup. The cups are applied to regions where pain and tension is felt.

Cupping isn’t painful, it’s in fact quite relaxing. If you suffer from muscle pain and general tightness, cupping could be great for you. It can be beneficial for pain, inflammation and blood flow.

Cupping can be applied using a gliding or stationary technique. With a stationary technique, the cups are applied and left in place, stretching and increasing circulation in the local area. This technique is great for pain that’s fixed in one location.  A gliding technique is used for pain that spreads across a larger area. Back and forth gliding of the cup gives a strong mechanical stretch, which softens and lengthens the muscle.

Cupping is a non-invasive treatment. It is generally very safe, however, a common side effect is bruising. Your practitioner will be able to go into greater detail during your consultation as to why this bruising may or may not occur for you. Cupping bruises don’t cause pain. If there is discomfort, it’s minimal. Bruising can last for 3 days to a week.

With each treatment, the degree of bruising should decrease, as the previously dysfunctional area becomes functional once again.

Unfortunately, not everyone can have cupping. Cupping is not advised if you have open wounds, dermatological problems, sunburn, a recent physcial trauma or are pregnant. This list is not exhaustive. It’s best to discuss individual circumstances with your practitioner.

In summary, think of cupping as the opposite to a massage, and who doesn’t love a massage right? Rather than pressing down for relief, cupping gives relief by lifting upwards. If you’re looking for a way to relax your muscles, ask your practitioner about cupping!