Cupping therapy is a type of soft tissue relaxation technique similar to massage. Massage, however, is performed by creating compression on the skin and underlying muscles. Cupping uses light suction to create a decompression of the skin and underlying tissue. This decompression helps open up blood vessels, takes pressure of cutaneous nerves, and reduces tension all with the aim of easing pain.
Traditionally, cupping has been performed with glass cups, and a flame was used to create a vacuum allowing the cup to adhere to the skin. In our clinic in Charlotte we use silicone and plastic cups to reduce any risk of harm to our patients.
Cupping can either be done statically where the cups are left in place, or dynamically where the cups are glided over the skin.¬† Sometimes, especially when performed statically, the skin will look bruised after a treatment session. This is simply due to blood being pulled toward the surface of the skin. It typically goes away after a couple days.