Cupping is a form of therapy that originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. Cupping involves using cups to pull an area of skin into a suction that decompresses muscles and connective tissue. This promotes blood flow to the compromised area, enhances circulation and helps to increase the body’s own healing processes — almost like a backward deep tissue massage.
It is one of the most effective methods of releasing toxins as enhanced blood flow under the cups draws impurities and toxins away from the nearby tissues and organs towards the surface for elimination.
Chinese medical practitioners believe cupping helps keep the body in balance, increases overall blood flow and reduces pain. Some athletes use this type of therapy to decrease muscle recovery time. It is often used in conjunction with acupuncture.
There are several different types of cups ranging from glass to silicone and bamboo, and there are different ways to use them. Sometimes practitioners will only use one or two cups. Other times, they’ll cover your entire back with cups.
Two popular types of cupping are stationary and sliding. Stationary cupping uses suction only, keeping the cups in place for a set time, usually 5 to 10 minutes. Sliding cupping is more like a deep tissue massage where the provider moves the cups over the area of pain or concern.