Cupping therapy is a type of massage therapy that uses cups and suction power to provide health benefits to clients. Using various methods, these cups suction to the client’s skin once placed. Cupping therapy is typically done on the back, but it can also be placed on the arms, legs, chest, stomach, or other spots. For cosmetic purposes, cups may also be used on the face.
Professionals can use many different cup materials to complete cupping therapy, such as glass, silicone, or plastic. To create suction between the cup and the skin, they may use a fire technique that causes the skin to protrude into the cup once placed. In other cases, professionals may use a suction pump to remove air and create a seal with the skin. Both methods cause the skin to seal into the cup, creating an upward suction of the skin.
There are many different cupping therapy techniques that one can implement. Three of the most common methods include:
Flash cupping is a cupping therapy technique that involves quick suctions against the skin. The cups are typically suctioned to the skin and quickly removed multiple times. This differs from traditional cupping techniques, as the cups do not stay on the skin for very long. They simply attach and remove the cups to stretch the skin and promote circulation.
Running cupping involves moving the suction cups around once they are placed on the skin. Professionals first rub massaging oils onto the affected area before suctioning the cups to the skin. Next, they move the cups up and down the area, similar to massage techniques. Running cupping is typically used on larger areas like the back.
Dry cupping is a more traditional cupping method that uses suction to improve blood flow. Professionals use many cups in specialized areas to improve painful conditions. Instead of moving the cups, like with flash cupping and running cupping, you keep them on the skin for an extended period.
When performing cupping therapy, professionals can use one or multiple cups on the area, depending on the client’s symptoms and what they hope to get out of the treatment. They may also use different sizes of cups to target larger or smaller areas.
Cupping therapy works by pulling blood farther to the skin surface, which can improve blood flow and provide many other benefits. It works to improve certain health conditions because the cup promotes bruising. In turn, your body registers these areas as an injury, which allows it to send the necessary blood cells to speed up healing.