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A vacuum is created inside the cup by either air or fire and placed onto the body (static cupping) or used to glide and lift the tissues (massage cupping). It will feel like a suction pressure on the surface of the body.
This therapy increases blood flow to the area inside the cups, as the vessels are drawn to the surface and expanded, stimulating the muscle tissues. It also helps clear out toxins and blockages as well as promote lymphatic drainage. The treatment is used to also disperse stagnation and expel pathogenic factors from the skin's surface.
Traditionally it can be placed over the meridians and acupressure points, and also on either side of the spine, along the SHU points, in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), which relates to a specific internal organ and when that area is stimulated, it is believed to balance the function of that organ.
Massage cupping is great for loosening tight muscles and fascia. While general massage applies pressure downwards onto the skin into the tissues, cupping massage lifts the tissue creating an opposite pressure. This suction, lifting and gliding movement relaxes the stiff muscles helping release any tension in the joints.
With static cupping, as the cups are placed and left unmoved on the body (no more than 15-20 minutes), it is normal to have some temporary localised discolorations or swelling. These round circles left on the body generally fade and disappear within a few days to a week.
We can use some cupping therapy as part of your standard massage treatment session. It can also be a cupping therapy for the whole treatment.