Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures.

How does Cupping work?

Cupping is based on the belief that certain health problems can be caused by stagnant blood and a poor energy flow through the body. To fix or prevent those health issues, therapists apply cups—typically glass or silicone—to skin to create a pressure that sucks skin inward. The pressure that the cups create draws blood to the affected area, increasing overall blood flow. That increased blood flow can relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation. The suction and negative pressure of the cups rapidly provides rigid soft tissue release up to four inches deep by loosening and lifting the fascia and muscles.

Some of the Benefits of Cupping:

Cupping is can promote healing and has been used extensively for sore muscles. That’s only the beginning. Cupping has also been used for:

  • dramatically breaking up scar tissue surrounding joints
  • breaking up adhesions from frozen shoulder and rotator cuff tears
  • relieving pain from sciatica/back pain, shin splints, whiplash, and other conditions
  • encouraging a sufficient supply of nutrition to tissues
  • encouraging blood and lymph circulation to tissue

Kristina Wilkins, LMT, is a massage therapist at Midtown Massage & Bodywork located at 885 S Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38104. 901.596.3838.