The Run Down on Myofascial Cupping


What is it?

Cupping is an ancient Chinese practice used for myofascial release. A cup is applied to the skin and pressure is reduced by suctioning air out; as this happens the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into the cup and held there.

What does it do?

  • Breaks up scar tissue built up from previous injuries
  • Reduces localized inflammation and aids in recovery by increasing nutrient rich blood to the injured area
  • Puts a passive stretch on soft tissue
  • General pain relief and increase of circulation
  • Increases joint range of motion
  • Reduces muscle tension

Why am I bruised and marked after a treatment?

A strong suction leaves red markings with movement back and forth over the same area and a “parked” (cup left in one spot) cup will leave a “cup kiss”. This will look like bruising; this technique brings toxins to the surface and they’re removed through the lymphatic system. Most bruising or marking can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Who would benefit from a cupping session?

  • If you’re feeling like regular massage isn’t quite doing it for you, chances are it’s your fascia that’s tight.
  • People who experience frozen shoulder
  • Anyone who has had hip or knee replacements or injuries, rotator cuff injuries, iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome

What should you do after a treatment?

After a cupping treatment, it is important to double up on water intake as cupping will dehydrate you more than a regular massage. If tenderness occurs, applying heat to the affected area will help relieve any tension. Foam rolling or using a fascia release ball (ex: playground ball or Italian ball from our props at the studio) is a great way to release your fascia between treatments or whenever you’re in need of a good stretch.


– Courtney Spithakis, RMT