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Like Tui Na, cupping is a technique that has been used by practitioners for more than 2000 years.

It is thought to affect tissues up to 10 cm deep.  The suction resulting from using this technique can help loosen tight muscles, encourage blood flow, sedate the nervous system, open the skins’ pores, balance and re-align the flow of Qi and aid the body’s ability to flush out toxins. 

Most people have heard about cupping – they see movie stars and athletes with those round hickey like marks on their back and arms (these are left behind after the process for 2 to 7 days).  Then, you have others who see these marks and say "what is that," and "what is cupping?"  If you are one of those who have been left in the dark, here's an explanation of cupping …


When the cups are placed on your skin, you may feel a strong suction – most people find this relaxing. 

Cupping often leaves non-permanent marks after the treatment is over. Cupping marks are not bruises, they are the result of suction, not pressure causing trauma. 
The most important factor to note, cupping should not cause pain,.


Cupping works by creating a vacuum in a jar or cup – a flame is usually used in order to create the vacuum.  The cup is then applied to the skin where it pulls up the underlying tissue.  The amount of suction all depends on the condition being treated and personal patient preference – it can be mild or great.  The cups can be moved (after oil has been applied to the skin), or they can be left over a particular area.


There are different forms of cupping, but the common ones include:

Moving Cupping 

This form of cupping is exactly what it sounds like.  Before the cups are placed on the body, the therapist will apply a lubricant to the area.  After the cups have been placed on the body, the cups will be moved up and down.  This form of cupping is traditionally used on the back.  This can help reduce the stagnation that is in the body, helping to relieve pain, relax muscle and promote circulation.

Fixed Cupping

This is when cupping is done on a specific region of the body (the cups may be left there for up to ten minutes).  This is a strong treatment that creates a strong suction, so it isn't recommended for those that have a weak constitution as it drains stagnation from the body.  Your practitioner will check signs to ascertain your individual constitution and the appropriateness of this technique for you.

Flash Cupping

This form of cupping is known for its speed.  The therapist will place many cups all at once – the cups will be left on the body for a short amount of time (normally under one minute) before they are removed, then reapplied.  This technique will take place for a couple of minutes and is great for stimulating the Qi along with the blood, but it isn't strong enough to be draining.

Cupping treatment will be tailored to the individuals in regards to needs, preferences and strength.  The amount of suction can be adjusted to your preference to ensure it is not beyond your level of comfort and as appropriate to your condition.

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