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What is massage cupping therapy?

You’ve heard of it before, you’ve seen images of fire and glass cups sucking tissue inside, you’ve maybe even seen the reddish purple marks on someone’s shoulders at the gym. But what is massage cupping for? The use of cupping dates back to as early as 3000 BC and has been used by medical practitioners in many different cultures, from wet cupping, a form of blood letting performed in early Islamic cultures, to the fire cupping used in China as early as 281 AD to draw stagnant energy out the body. 

Though specific methods and rationale vary between cultures and healthcare modalities, massage cupping therapy is simply a way of applying reverse pressure to the tissue in order to create space between structures in the body, to encourage the release of muscle tension without crushing sensitive nerves, and to prepare the tissue for deeper work. 

In my practice, I strive to avoid creating marks on the skin due to controversy in the massage community over whether marking the tissue is healthy. Tissue that is challenged, however, tends to mark very easily, which, some would argue, simply means that stuck energy has risen to the skin’s surface with the release of fascial tension. By moving the cups and not leaving them in one area for too long, I avoid most marks. In any case, massage cupping provides an out-of-this world, novel sensation that is worth trying at least once! Cupping can also be a great tool for those who struggle to receive touch and who would like to experience the benefits of massage. For all others, cupping therapy never replaces hands-on touch, but simply enhances it. 

If you’re curious about massage cupping, ask me for more information. As with all other massage techniques, I am committed to providing the most comfortable and relaxing therapeutic cupping experience possible!


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