What is cupping therapy?

Cupping is a technique that has been used for about three thousands years in many parts of Asia to treat a variety of conditions.  Cupping uses “suction” or negative pressure which occurs between the cup and skin, to

It is a very effective and painless way to help lift and release compressed tissues that you have not been able to release with traditional massage.  It is safe, comfortable and very effective for many disorders.


Bruising is caused by impact trauma with compressed breakage of capillaries and a reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged location from the tissue injury. There is no compression in correctly performed cupping therapy.

No matter what is explained here, even though some might understand the health benefits, will still not want to have the marks after a cupping session, this can be due to many reasons, from not wanting to TRY and explain to their colleagues to actually being worried about them. Hopefully this will put your mind at ease. People from many different cultures have been doing this and still do this type of treatment for over 3 thousand yers and today it as as strong if not stronger, with all the evidence, than ever.

The most common misunderstanding regarding the after effects of cupping are the marks that sometimes result.  When deep muscle injuries occur, bleeding often occurs, causing deep bruises and swelling.  The combining presence of these elements usually results in stagnation of circulation to the area – resulting in pain, dysfunction, chronic conditions and/or lost range of motion.

The vacuum formed by Cupping draws up the old non-circulating stagnant blood and chronic swelling from the area, bringing them up to the surface and away from the injury so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area, thus creating space for oxygen, living cells and nutrients for faster recovery.

Where there is dead, static blood, lymph, cellular debris, pathogenic factors, and toxins present in the body, Cupping can leave marks which indicates that the stagnation or disease has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface.

The colour and pattern of the marks depend on the level of stagnation in the area, and range from a bright red to dark purple, usually lasting 3 – 10 days, sometimes longer if the person is very sick or sedentary. If there is no stagnation present, there will be only a pink marking which disappears in a few minutes to a couple of hours.

As mentioned above, there are levels of stagnation in the body due to various factors, like posture, stress, injury, etc.

We can also look at cupping like a detox, as we all know, when there is detoxification happening in the body, there is a surfaces and evacuation of what is not wanted in the body. Certain effects of this can be similar to a hangover, with all the “toxins” running free in the body you can actually feel worse after a treatment, this is not a definite, but it is a possibility, especially for the sedentary person.

Ways to avoid feeling worse the next day – drink more water than you normally do, this will help flush out all the released bad stuff. It is also not recommended to do heavy training after a session of any form of massage including cupping, one of the reasons for this, that I have seen many times within the sports area is, after a session of cupping and deep tissue manipulation (shiatsu) the body has released some blockages an the body is feeling lighter, more open and even an improved range of motion, and this is where a danger lies, when you go train after a session you will probably be able to lift more, open your shoulders up to do overhead positions that you battled with, but the body might not to be ready to load these areas yet.

Every condition is different. Every person is unique so it is difficult to say exactly how many treatments you will need.
As a rough guide, for chronic conditions, 4 or 6 weekly  treatments are usually needed to see some benefit.

For more acute conditions, or just general health and well being, a monthly Shiatsu will be just fine.