There are myriad versions of cupping including the very basic stationary methods and those with movement, such as cupping “massage”.
While stationary cups are left an average of up to 15-20 minutes and are intentionally left in place to draw out fluids as a means to help detox the body as well pre-relaxing muscle and other tissues, massage therapists often choose to utilize cups along with movement; whereby the vacuum effect (created by the cups) is used as a means to literally pull muscle fibers apart. This initiates a shifting of the alignment within whole muscle bellies and even muscle groups (helping reduce specific muscle tension, knots, etc.)
Massage Cupping is, officially, the combination of massage movements and negative pressure (created) with the use of a suction device applied over the skin and underlying tissues. A cup is positioned over the targeted treatment area, and a vacuum is created within the cup to draw the skin and underlying tissue into the cup. The produced vacuum creates a suction effect that increases blood and lymphatic circulation systemically and to the local area, relaxes muscle and supportive tissues, drawing toxins out of the body while releasing a myriad of pain causing factors along the way.
The intended level of suction strength can range from light to heavy. This variable, along with the choice of directional speed of movements performed as well as areas treated by the therapist, will produce either stimulating (toning) or sedating (draining away) effects. It is very important that therapists effectively assess the physical and emotional state of the client, before beginning the procedure, to ensure proper type and application of the cups to produce the desired outcome.
Massage cupping often produces a more rapid facilitation for soft tissue release, as it loosens and lifts connective tissue, breaks up and drains stagnation, while increasing blood and lymph flow to skin and muscles in ways that are not possible using compression.
Another benefit of the negative pressure, produced by cupping massage, is that it can feel pretty amazing for most people. The pulling action engages the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing a deep relaxation to move through the entire body. It is not unusual to fall asleep when receiving this treatment. Clients are surprised at how relaxed, warm, and light they feel -hours or sometimes even days afterward.