Cupping: What to Expect and Common Questions

Cupping therapy is a form of holistic medicine designed to create therapeutic suction on your skin for a few minutes. There are many reasons why people choose Cupping. Those reasons can include help with pain on various locations of the body, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, or as a form of a deep-tissue massage.

During a cupping session, your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he or she will put the cup upside down on your skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum causing the skin to rise and, sometimes, redden as your blood vessels expand.

What to Expect: Answers provided by Chalei, an Oahu Spine and Rehab Licensed Massage Therapist

The after effects from cupping can vary with your first session more intense than your 3rd or 4th session.  The markings from your first cupping session will probably be the darkest.

How long are the cups applied?

Depending on your body and the coloration markings, the cups may be placed on your skin for up to 10-15 minutes. They may either stay in place for that time, or the therapist may glide them along a muscle or onto another location of your body.

Are they bruises?

NO, they are not.  Bruises are broken blood vessel. The dark markings are more like “hickeys”. Those hickey-like marks are just places where stagnation has been pulled to the surface of your skin where the lymphatic  system can carry it out.

Is it normal for it to be sensitive to touch where those marks are?

YES, it’s completely normal to be a little sensitive to touch in my experience. The tenderness won’t last longer than 48 hours if the patient drinks plenty of water as it helps with circulation and re-hydrating your muscles.

Is it normal for some cupping marks to be darker than others?

Yes, the cupping marks only appear where you have stagnation or muscle tension. I can have the same amount of suction on either side of your body and one side will have a deep purple mark and the other side will have nothing. Typically, whatever side you are more dominant on or have had previous injury/surgery on will be darker.

How long do the markings last?

Typically, anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks depending on how dark they are.

How do I schedule a Cupping massage?

Easy! Simply call our office at (808) 488-5555. The front desk will schedule you a complimentary consultation prior to your appointment so we may go over any health concerns you have. A Cupping massage at OSR is $60 for 60 minutes but below, you can claim a discount. We value our blog readers and can’t wait to help you with your health concerns and needs!

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