Cupping Technique on mans back

What is cupping?

Cupping has been an integral part of Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as a way of easing muscle tension, promoting relaxation and blood circulation. It is often used to treat underlying imbalances in the body and musculoskeletal conditions.


According to Chinese medicine, cupping works by creating suction on the skin, which is often used to relieve muscle tension, promote blood circulation, and reduce pain. The cups are usually left in place for a few minutes, creating circular marks on the skin that typically fade within a few days.

Today you’ll see many professional sportspeople incorporating cupping into their preparation and recovery routine. A well-known image is Michael Phelps at the Rio 2016 Olympic games, standing on the blocks with cupping marks on both shoulders and back. The circles are the result of cupping, a technique that athletes use to help their muscles recover and perform at their best.


Typically the circles only last a few days. The colour of the circles may be an indicator of the underlying cause of pain – the darker the colour, the more stagnant the blood flow.

Cupping therapy when used alongside acupuncture, may extend the benefits of the treatment.


How does cupping work?

Cupping involves a pulling motion that stretches the muscles, offering effective pain relief. Additionally, cupping helps draw coldness and stagnation out of the body, promoting improved blood circulation to specific areas or bodily functions targeted to you.


Typically performed on the back, however, cups may be applied on other areas of the body, targeting acupuncture points, cupping sessions usually last around 15 minutes. The cups can be relocated during the session for optimal results. Cupping itself is not painful, however, it may result in temporary bruise-like marks on the skin.


What are the benefits of cupping?

Traditional Chinese Cupping therapy offers a myriad of therapeutic benefits. These may involve the release of muscle tension and knots, promoting healing through enhanced blood circulation, and inducing a state of tranquillity to the nervous system.


Cupping serves as a method to reduce inflammation and muscle stiffness and soreness. By boosting blood flow it may aid in the healing of scar tissue and other soft tissue injuries leading to faster repair and recovery.


Cupping therapy may be advantageous for individuals dealing with ailments, such as:

– Muscle and joint discomfort

– Back pain

– Frozen/painful shoulder


Moreover, cupping can fortify the immune system, making it a potential preventive measure for those frequently exposed to colds and flu.