What Exactly is Cupping?

Have you always wondered what “Cupping” is all about? Have you heard about the many benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the practice of Cupping from friends and family but are too nervous to try it for yourself? Let us allay your fears.

Think of cupping as the inversion of massage. Rather than pressure on the tissues through a massage therapist, Chinese medicine practitioners use suction cups which uses pressure to pull the tissues upwards. Cupping helps improve blood flow, relieve pain and tension and improve muscle flexibility – it is only the method/application that is different. Guess what? Most treatments only take 20 minutes.

Is it painful?

Often the sensation is rather relaxing. Depending on the location, some of the cups may feel tight, but cups tend to be moved around. Each treatment is entirely unique to you and your body.

Does it leave a bruise?

Cupping causes the skin to temporarily change colour directly under the area of the cup. The discolouration is not panful and usually only lasts a few days. Once the discoloured skin returns to normal, the treatment can be repeated.

What areas does it work on?

The upper and lower back are the most common treatment areas, but cups can work well on other areas too, particularly areas with more flesh.  

On a side note, a lot of athletes use cupping. Multiple gold medal winner Olympian Michael Phelps is a big believer in this ancient practice as are a lot of Olympic gymnasts.