For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes. This is similar to the practice of Tui Na, a traditional Chinese medicine massage technique that targets acupuncture points as well as painful body parts, and is well known to provide relief through pressure.
The suction created by the cup encourages blood flow—and this increased circulation promotes healing and reduces pain.
It can also help to break up fascial adhesions, move lymphatic fluid, and relax muscles.
A local suction is created on the skin with the application of heated cups.
Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin. Massage oils are sometimes applied to improve movement of the glass cups along the skin. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward.