What Is Cupping Therapy?

Why Do You Get Marks or Skin Discoloration? Does It Hurt?

Stationary cupping, when the cups are left on the skin for a length of time, can leave rings and circles due to toxins and blood moving to the surface. This process can create some discomfort or pain as it creates a vacuum suctioning up the skin. The pressure influences the intensity level, however many describe the sensation as a slight pinch. Some marks can be darker than others, the darker the color the more effective that cupping point was for the client. Results are immediate and lasting, with the marks and discoloration fading in about a week. Despite any initial discomfort, many recipients describe cupping as relaxing and therapeutic. The pulling action engages the parasympathetic nervous system allowing, deep relaxation throughout body.

What Are the Benefits?

  • Deep tissue work and release without discomfort
  • Moves stagnation and drains fluid
  • Relieves inflammation
  • Nervous system sedation
  • Breaks up and expels congestion
  • Stretches muscle and connective tissue
  • Loosens adhesions
  • Pulls blood supply to the skin
  • Facilitates movement of the Qi/Chi and blood systematically and locally
  • Dispels wind, damp and cold to treat muscle and joint pain, stiffness and arthritis
  • Strengthens the immune system by promoting the flow of lympatic fluid
  • Treats excess heat conditions, fever, stress, depression and anxiety
  • Cleans blood and lymph and helps to balance pH levels

How Long Does a Session Take and How Much Does It Cost?

Cupping therapy can last anywhere between 15 to 60 minutes. An example of a one hour session: 15 to 20 minutes of massage, 5 minutes to apply the cups, 15 to 20 minutes of the cups being stationary on the skin, 2 minutes to remove the cups and 15 to 20 minutes of massage.

Cupping therapy is priced similarly to a traditional massage session. It can range from $30 to $150 depending on the duration of the session and the practitioner being used. At spas, cupping is sometimes offered as an added service to a traditional massage for an extra $5 to $15 on top of the massage price.

What are Some Other Cupping Treatments?

  1. Cellulite cupping treatments: The pressure applied promotes lymphatic drainage, stimulates circulation, loosens connective tissue and adhesions, and clears toxins.
  2. Spa cupping treatments: Added to topical body treatments, cupping enhances absorption of the product and assists in drainage of stagnant fluids.
  3. Facial cupping: Small cups vacuum and lift facial tissue, mimicking the pumping movements of lymphatic drainage. It increases circulation to the skin, increases nutrients brought to the epidermis, softens scar tissue, plumps lines and wrinkles, reduces muscle tension and tightness and relieves inflammation.
  4. Pedi-cupping: Accompanies reflexology and is used for plantar fascial release.
  5. Sports cupping: Used for maintenance, pre- and post-event injuries, detoxification and recovery. It increases muscle endurance, circulation, lung capacity and lymph drainage.

Who Does Cupping?

Massage Therapists, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, sports therapists, nurses, doctors, chiropractors and other facilitators of the healing arts.

More: Ice Baths Dos and Don'ts

Active logoSign up for your next race.

  • 2
  • of
  • 2

About the Author

Laura Waite

Laura Waite is a yoga teacher and certified massage therapist in Dana Point, California.
Laura Waite is a yoga teacher and certified massage therapist in Dana Point, California.

Discuss This Article