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Cupping Therapy

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping is a form of deep tissue massage but can be done without causing the unbearable pain that deep massage causes. It has the same effect as massage but works in the opposite way. Instead of massaging the tissue in a downwards motion, cupping pulls the tissue upwards into special glass jars.

Cupping therapy has been found in ancient records dating back over 3500 years. It works by using a flame to produce heat, which burns the oxygen inside of these special glass cups to create a vacuum inside. Then when placed on the body, the cups form an air-tight seal which draws the soft tissue upwards inside of the cup (pictures below).

Its functions are to release tight muscles, remove blood stagnation and toxins (which are held in the muscles) and increase the circulation of blood and the flow of Qi (energy).

Cupping Therapy Cupping Therapy

In China, the cups are often left on a patient from 5-20 minutes, but this will almost definitely cause dark purple colour marks in the form of circles to be left on the skin and could leave the areas feeling sore afterwards.

Therefore we tend to use more gentle forms of cupping in England, such as 'flash cupping' where the cups are left on for approximately 5-20 seconds at a time and then moved to other areas, or with 'static cupping' they can be left on the same area but for a maximum of only 2-5 minutes. This will still have the exact same effect but shouldn't leave as such dark colour marks on the skin as it would do for a longer period of time.

In theory cupping therapy shouldn't really leave any marks on the skin or only very slight marks if they have been left on for a short while but the reason marks are generally seen afterwards is because of how tight the muscles are due to jobs we have which cause our muscles to tighten too much in a very short amount of time (such as sitting at a desk 8 hours a day, 5 days a week).


Too much stress is also a very big problem that causes muscles to tighten very quickly (especially the neck and shoulders). Unfortunately we all suffer from this because of our daily lives, which may involve things like public transport problems, traffic, work colleagues, family problems and many more things etc...

Diet is also another reason dark marks can be seen quite quickly from cupping because poor diet such as fatty foods, alcohol and smoking can cause more toxins to be stored within our bodies. The quicker and darker the skin marks during cupping is an indication of how tight muscles are and how much toxins and stagnation is being held in the tissue.

The more frequently a person has cupping, the less tight muscles should become and the less toxins and stagnation is built up, which means the cups could be left on the person longer without causing such dark colour marks afterwards.

Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow are among those
known celebrities to be fans of cupping therapy.

'Sliding cupping' is a very effective way to relax tight muscles. It is very effective because the cups are moved up and down the skin with oil, exactly like massage just a lot deeper but this can obviously feel quite uncomfortable.


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