Cupping Therapy

What is cupping

Cupping therapy originated in Asia and is a form of alternative medicine. During a cupping session  a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. Individuals receive cupping for various reasons  including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being.  Cupping can help enhance the  benefits of massage therapy.


Types of cupping

    • Fire Cupping: The inside of a glass cup is heated using a flame and alcohol. The cup is then placed on your skin. As the glass and air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum that pulls your tissue into the cup. At this point, the cup will either be stationary or slowly migrated around the area. The cup may stay up to ten minutes.
      • Moving Cupping: Using massage lotion may be applied to create a better seal as well as allow the cups to glide over muscle groups (e.g. trapezius, erectors, latisimus dorsi, etc.) in an act called “moving cupping”.
    • Other forms of Dry Cupping: There are also various ways for the vacuum to be created, including a hand pump and mechanical vacuum pump,
  • WET CUPPING Wet cupping involves bloodletting! Body First does not offer wet cupping.

Who may benefit from cupping?

Cupping therapy benefits those experiencing muscle pain, soreness and general stiffness.

Who should avoid cupping?

  • Anyone on blood thinners
  • Anyone that bleeds easily
  • Anyone experiencing inflammation or swelling
  • Anyone who is pregnant and has not received cupping before

What should you expect?

Prior to your session

  • Intake Form- You will be asked to complete an intake form so the therapist can be informed of your medical history, injuries and other conditions that your massage therapist should know prior to your session


  • Active Therapy. You can expect the therapist to use mobilization techniques, range of motion, and other active therapies to achieve maximum benefit from the session.  To get the most from your experience, you will be an active participant! You probably won’t be napping.
  • Fire Cupping: Body First utilizes the fire cupping technique and also may incorporate “moving cupping” into the session. (moving cupping = Massage lubricant is utilized to  allow the cups to glide over muscle groups)
  • Cupping Marks. You will most likely leave with cupping marks on your body.
  • Cupping marks are not bruises. These marks are not actually bruising. They are caused by the decompression of the skin under the cup and the dilation of blood vessels and minute amount of localized edema. Bruises are caused by damaging of tissue.
    • Cupping marks are temporary. They may last anywhere from a few days to three weeks. Make sure you are well hydrated. The better your hydration level the shorter the marks usually last.

Cupping can leave temporary marks.

Is there any special preparation to do before the session?

  • Be Hydrated. It will be important to be well hydrated, so drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid taking blood thinners including aspirin.
  • Body Hair. If you have abundant body hair, you may want to consider removing it from the area of focus. It is possible to work regardless of the quantity of hair you have but sometimes suction is easier to achieve on. hairless skin. There is also the possibility that hair near the cup may singe.

How will I feel after the session?

  • The treatment area usually feels loose and very soft. Some clients describe it as the muscle tightness “just melted” away.
  • It is common to be sore at the treatment area similar to having working out that region.

Scheduling a Cupping Therapy Session

  • Body First offers cupping with or without massage therapy. Cupping can be incorporated into a massage or scheduled by itself. If you want to incorporate it into an hour massage, you will only have time for a region of the body (ex: upper body, hips and low back, etc.).


Length of session Cupping Only Cupping with Body First Massage
30 Min Cupping: Application of cupping  on ONE region of the body a region of the body (ex: upper body or  hips and low back, etc.).

No or very limited massage involved

60 Min Cupping: Application of MULTIPLE  regions of the body a region of the body (ex: upper body, plus hips and low back, etc.).

No or very limited massage involved

Cupping: Application of cupping  on ONE region of the body a region of the body (ex: upper body or  hips and low back, etc.).


Massage: Focus of massage in 1-2 regions


90 Min N.A. Cupping: Application of MULTIPLE  regions of the body a region of the body


Massage: Focus of massage in 1-2 regions


  • If this is the first time for you to receive cupping, you may want to try a 30 minute session that focuses on one area of the body. Speak with your massage therapist if you have questions.