Cupping therapy is an ancient form of therapy in which a therapist puts special plastic cups on your skin by creating a suction effect with a handheld pump attached to the cups. The pump creates a vacuum as it removes the air under the cup. Your massage therapist can place cups and leave them stationary or can move the cups along your skin. The benefit of the cupping is improved local blood flow and promoting healing. They are used within the Massage Therapy scope of practice for the treatment of soft tissues and joints as an added modality in your treatment plan. There might be some slight discomfort as the cups are placed but it should decrease with time. There is a possibility of cups leaving a mark on the skin that looks like a bruise; however, it is not damaged tissue as is the case with bruises. The mark does not hurt and usually disappears within a day or two. Your Massage therapist will ask if you are on medication that can cause bruising, or if there is an open skin area which would be a contraindication for cupping therapy. Most patients notice immediate pain relief after the cup is removed, and that is the most common use of cups. They are also used to improve mobility of the soft tissues and increase in range of motion in your joints.
Biljana Bozic, RMT