• Courtney Hutson

Cupping! Cupping! Cupping!

As a massage therapist, you are often asked to find your talent, your niche, your specialty early on in your career! Once you find that talent you're suppose to focus on that and work towards making it bigger and better, as well as helping everyone that you can!

Finding that niche has not always been easy for me! I have now been licensed for almost two years and I am just now figuring out what I strive for! My niche is BODY CUPPING!!!!!!

In the beginning I was super scared of body cupping and the marks it would leave! I have now had cupping done a hand full of times and absolutely love cupping and the benefits your receive from it!

History of Massage Cupping

Many of us didn't know what cupping was until summer of 2016 when Michael Phelps came out to swim! We were all wondering what those marks were on his shoulders and back! Those are cupping marks!!!! Even the true athletes get cupping to help recovery time and loosen their muscles.

There is no specific origin for cupping therapy, since it has been practiced all over the world for thousands of years. Techniques and knowledge have spread all over the world while healers were migrating from one place to another.

The first known cupping tools were made from basic natural materials such as bamboo, bones, horns, seashells and nuts. Because cupping was often performed with animal horns, treatment was known as “horn therapy”.


China has a long history about cupping and the Chinese have practiced and studied cupping for decades. Cupping has aged back to 300AD. They used animal horns as cupping cups. Cupping was used for example to drain pus from blisters. In some of the earlier Chinese writings, cupping was recommended for the treatment for tuberculosis. And it actually was one of the main treatments for tuberculosis by the time of the Tang dynasty (618-907).


Cupping became in Egypt in 1550 B.C. by stating that cupping was good for fevers, pain, vertigo, menstruation, appetite, constipation and accelerating the "healing crisis" of disease.

From the Egyptians, cupping was introduced to the Greeks, and it was eventually spread to ancient cultures of many European countries and even America.

How does Cupping work?

Cupping works by creating a vacuum, or suction, to force blood to the skins surface. Cupping dilates the blood vessel to draw out toxins to the skins surface from the body through the skin. The suction level can range from light to heavy or deep! The cupping movements can range from stimulating to sedating.

What causes the redness?

The suction impacts dermal and subcutaneous blood vessels. With acute injurious tissue these vessels will tend to dilate, causing a redness, or erythema, to occur. With tissue that is chronically injurious the region becomes a purple color as blood stagnates in this region.

The cupping breaks capillaries, the small blood vessels under the skins surface, causing the red marks where the cups were placed. The spots can last from several days or weeks depending on how dark the spots were.

The skin will also turn red, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface of that area where the cup has been working.

Benefits of Massage Cupping

Cupping will increase blood supply locally, where the cup is placed, to help increase oxygen delivery and metabolic waste in that area. Cupping has many benefits, below is just some benefits!!!

  • Drain excess fluids and toxins by opening lymphatic pathways

  • Brings an influx of blood supply to the muscle and skin

  • Brings hydration and blood flow to the body tissues

  • Brings nourishment

  • Stimulates lymph

  • Stimulates Qi (open energy flow to the body)

  • Helps reduce muscle tension

  • Liberate trapped inflammation and draw the inflammation out

  • Soften and minimize scar tissue

  • Release rigid tissue and compensatory patterns

  • Sedate the nervous system (great for high blood pressure)

  • Separates adhesions in tissue layers

  • Helps speed up post-workout recovery

  • Loosens the muscle belly

  • Softens the underlying muscle tissues

  • Increase flexibility and mobility

  • Tones muscle attachments

  • Lifts the connective tissue

  • Increase range of motion to the muscle belly

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