What Is Cupping Massage Therapy?

Cupping massage could give you the benefits of deep tissue massage without the deep pressure. Cupping massage is different from conventional deep massage therapy that applies deep pressure to help disperse and eliminate scar tissue from adhesions and previous injuries due to the tensions of everyday daily living. cupping massage works by using negative pressure and suction to impact the deeper muscles.

How Does Cupping Therapy Works?

Modern cupping massage evolved from the ancient healing practice of cupping therapy, which is a component of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine. In performing traditional cupping therapy, a practitioner of TCM lights a small fire inside a bamboo, pottery, or glass cup. The fire exhausts oxygen from the cup, producing a vacuum. Then the practitioner promptly places the cup’s open end on your body.

The suctioning effect in the cup generates a seal on your skin that has a negative and suction pressure drawing underlying tissue and the skin towards the cup. Blood during this stimulation starts to flow to the problem area and improves the flow of chi. TCM practitioners in Spokane usually allow the cups to stay in one place 10 minutes or so. This style of cupping is called stationary cupping, although sometimes the practitioners decide to use running cupping, which involves moving the cups (running cupping) in a massage-like manner.

Current Deep Tissue Massage Cupping

The biggest difference between massage cupping and traditional cupping is that in massage cupping, the practitioner utilizes the cups to administer massage strokes, such as long strokes or vigorous circles around the muscles or scooping the cup’s edge over a muscle. The massage therapist will first need to apply oil to your skin before placing cups on your skin to make the massage strokes smoother and easier.

Fire cupping is a technique used by certain massage therapists. One other more recent technique involves the use of a manual vacuum set. A cup attached to a pump to remove the air is placed on the patient’s body.

In eastern medicine, the negative suction pressure of deep tissue cupping massage is designed to disperse stagnating chi in localized areas of your body. In Western medicine terms, stagnation of chi can be thought of as weak flow of blood or feeble flow of lymphatic fluid. Cupping massage produces great benefits some of which include:

• The stimulation of circulation
• Loosening of scar tissue and adhesions by lifting connective tissue
• Eliminates toxins and excess fluids by widening lymphatic channels
• Soothes and relaxes tense muscles


Cupping massage results in reddening of the skin indicating that blood has risen to the skin surface. The vacuum effect pulls the skin towards the cup, causing the blood vessels on the skin surface to expand. This effect can lead to discoloration, since a small amount of blood may escape from peripheral capillaries. The discoloration normally vanishes within a few days.

Cupping massage is not for everyone, so the massage therapist should be aware of your medical conditions. Massage cupping is contraindicated for conditions like easy bleeding, cramping, convulsions, high fever, or inflamed skin. This therapy should not be used on the lower back or stomach region of pregnant women.

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