FallOut CrossFit – School of Elite Fitness Tri-cities, WA

The Art of Massage Cupping

Massage Cupping

November Special – Book any massage with Jessica Hudson, LMP, and receive

1 bonus CrossFit class added to your account


Today I had the opportunity to experience massage cupping. So you ask, what in the world is it? Jessica Hudson, LMP, offered to show me what cupping is all about. A massage? I’m in!!!

An ancient technique has found its place in the modern world of healing. Massage cupping is a modified version of the common practice of cupping therapy, used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and the results that this simple treatment produces are impressive. Through suction and negative pressure, massage cupping releases rigid soft tissue; drain excess fluids and toxins; loosen adhesions and lift connective tissue; and bring blood flow to stagnant skin and muscles.

Cupping developed over time from the original use, by various indigenous peoples, of hollow animal horns to drain toxins out of snakebites and skin lesions. Horns evolved into bamboo cups, which were eventually replaced by glass. Therapeutic applications evolved with the refinement of the cup itself, and with the cultures that employed cupping as a health-care technique.

The Chinese expanded the use of this technique to surgery, to divert blood flow from the surgery site. Cupping eventually developed into a separate therapy under the TCM umbrella, with healers trained specifically in this technique. Other ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and early Greeks, embraced the therapeutic value of cupping. The technique eventually spread throughout Europe and later to the Americas.

Cupping was common in households of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Indeed, many people still remember Grandma cupping their back for congestion and colds. European and American doctors used cupping into the late 1800s, and cupping sets were still carried by medical-supply companies well into the 1940s. Breast cupping became common for inflamed breasts and lactation dysfunctions, and the familiar breast pump evolved from this practice.

With this rich history of medical application, how does cupping fit into current health practices? Massage cupping held by suction, to massage the body, can be added into almost any massage or bodywork session. The action on the nervous system is sedating, and clients will often experience a deep state of relaxation.

A favorite area for massage cupping is on the broad area of the back. Larger cups are used for this, and a strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep-tissue massage without any discomfort. The movement may be long and intended to drain fluid, or circular and stimulating for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue. The skin will turn red with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface.

Want to try it like I did? Talk to me about it, if you are unsure, but it was great – really!


November Special – Book any massage with Jessica Hudson, LMP, and receive

1 bonus CrossFit class added to your account