What the Cup?

“I’ve seen that before,” “Its that suction cup thingy from the Olympics right?” “Michael Phelps did it” “Is that a birthmark?”


Cupping is an ancient form of healing that uses suction to increase blood flow and reduce pain, inflammation and tension.  The effects are similar to a deep tissue massage in a fraction of the time.

My shoulders/traps kill me constantly…

I foam roll, use tennis balls, do self massage, get massages and wear a back support device periodically during the day. Nothing seems to work for more than a few minutes or hours, so I resorted to trying cupping.

I found a reputable place that I had gotten massages at before and booked a session through a Groupon deal I purchased (3 sessions for $37). Just like a regular massage, I entered the room and got undressed and laid face down on the table. The therapist knocked and came in and quickly massaged my back and shoulders. She then placed the cups on my back one at a time, from shoulders to hips, and used a hand suction to increase the amount of pressure in each cup.

I definitely felt the pressure but it wasn’t painful.

Within a few seconds after application, I felt a slight pulling sensation over my back and shoulders, but I really couldn’t feel anything. I was wondering if the whole process was going to work.

She left the room for 10 minutes and allowed the cups to do their job. I can’t say I was really relaxed through the process … but it WAS relaxing to lay down for 10 minutes and do nothing 🙂

When she returned, she let the pressure out of each cup one by one and gently removed each. The session ended with another quick massage of my back.

From there, I dressed and went on my way. The whole session took about 20-25 minutes from the time I walked in to when I left.


So was the time, money and “scars” worth it? I definitely think so! It is usually very hard for me to sit/stand up straight because my back and shoulders are so tight. However, I was able to stand up straight and hold my shoulders back with ease. This “relief” lasted throughout the weekend. Today is Monday, 3 days after my session and my tension has started to creep back. HOWEVER, my weekend was filled with workouts, hours of yard work and moving my old washer and dryer from the basement to the street.

Would I do it again? 

In a heartbeat! For a fraction of the time and cost of a deep tissue massage, I definitely felt more relief than ever.

The downside?

It is not nearly as mentally or physically relaxing as a deep tissue massage and you do have to show your “battle scars” for about a week after the treatment.

Do your research! I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read several articles before I decided to book a session. Also, take note that there are different types of cupping sessions (some of which involve blood being drawn from the body … I didn’t do this type 🙂 ). Don’t take my word for it though … try it yourself!


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