Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a Physiotherapist or Registered Massage Therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. Cupping can leave behind very dark skin bruising but this is not typical bruising as it is not painful. You might remember seeing the post-cupping bruising on Michael Phelps during the Rio 2016 Olympics. Physiotherapist typically use plastic or silicone cups that suction with manually applied pressure. Alternative medicine therapist tend to use glass cups with the help of fire to create the suction. Clinically, I have used cupping on chronically dysfunctional scar tissue to reduce the stickiness between the layers of skin, soft tissue and muscles. If a patient is experiencing persistent pain that seems soft tissue in origin I find that cupping can be great at reducing the pain response.
Updated: Sep 22, 2018