Q - What's the explanation of the marks or discolorations that sometimes occur as a result from suction cup therapy?

A - One of the common and unfortunate misconceptions regarding one of the most powerful and beneficial after effects of Cupping, is the marks that sometimes result.  Those unfamiliar to Cupping Therapy, believe the Cupping marks to be bruises.  In North American society bruising is considered an injury.  "Bruising" is caused by impact trauma with breakage of capillaries and reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged area from the tissue compression/injury.  There is no compression in properly employed suction cup therapy.  Although it is quite common during Stationary Cupping (left static for 5 - 20 minutes) to achieve dramatic 'marks' or discolorations', the less aggressive action of moving the cups, minimizes the intensity and duration of the discolorations.​

When injuries occur deep in the muscle, bleeding often occurs causing deep bruises.  There will also be edema in the area involving the coagulation of sticky proteins.  The combining presence of these elements usually results in stagnation of circulation to the area - resulting in pain, dysfunction and chronic conditions.

The vacuum formed by Cupping draws up the old non-circulating stagnant blood and sticky fluids from the area, bringing them up to the surface and away from the injury so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area, thus creating space for oxygen, living cells and nutrients for faster recovery.  Where there is dead, static blood, lymph, cellular debris, pathogenic factors, and toxins present in the body, Cupping can leave marks which indicates that the stagnation or disease has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface.

In many countries - this is a non-issue, they've experienced for themselves the amazing detoxifying effects suction therapy can provide.  But in some industrialized countries, where Allopathic Medicine still over-shadows more holistic, natural approaches, these surface discolorations are misinterpreted as damage rather than the result of debilitation agents being drawn to the surface.  Westerners also live in an image conscience society that also has a heightened sensitivity to domestic abuse... so, without sufficient understanding, some people are unnerved upon seeing this important after effect.

Once people understand what these marks are, and feel the results - the concerns disappear.

Q - What is Cupping Therapy?

A - Negative pressure, rather than tissue compression is superior for bodywork for pain, stubborn conditions, repetitive strains, inflammation, toxicity, chronic fatigue, digestive problems and a slough of other issues we confront as we grow older.

Suction cups rapidly facilitate rigid soft tissue release, loosens and lifts connective tissue, breaks up and drains stagnation while increasing blood and lymph flow to skin and muscles in ways not possible using compression.

Another benefit of Cupping is that it can feel really great when done properly for your constitution and current physiology and/or condition.  The pulling action engages the parasympathetic nervous system, thus allowing a deep relaxation to move through the entire body.  It is not unusual to fall asleep when receiving this treatment.  You will be surprised at how relaxed, warm and light you'll feel -- hours... sometimes even days afterwards.


Asha's Holistic Massage Therapy


Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physcian or other medical professional.  You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication.  As a non-medical practitioner, if you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.  Information and statements regarding Baguanfa have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

  • Deep tissue work and release without discomfort
  • Moves stagnation and drains fluids
  • Relieves Inflammation
  • Nervous System Sedation
  • Breaks Up and Expels Congestion
  • ​Stretches Muscle and Connective Tissues
  • Loosens Adhesions
  • ​Pulls blood supply to the skin
  • the need for sleep
  • intense hunger (munchies)
  • no appetite
  • similar to post deep tissue massage
  • nausea
  • euphoria
  • feelings of being "hung over"
  • increased bowel elimination
  • stronger body odor (detox)
  • "best nights sleep in years"
  • vivid dreams
  • night sweats
  • ​heightened senses (smell, sight, sound)

Q - Can I get training?

A - I was trained by the International  Cupping Therapy Association.  The prerequisite to take their training classes is the completed Study in Physiology and Anatomy.  Use this link to see the different classes offered through the ICTA.  You can see the classes listed by Date, Workshop and Instructor.

The first prerequisite for approval to attend any ICTA Cupping program is the strong understanding of both verbal and written knowledge of the English language.  The second prerequisite for the Contemporary Cupping Methods training is the completed study of Anatomy and Physiology (A&P).  The ICTA does not teach A&P, as A&P is part of all core curriculum of formal medical training.  As continuing education providers, the ICTA's objective is to extend the knowledge beyond the core competencies of any given field of Healthcare training.  The ICTA requires that CCM participants are knowledgeable with systems, pathologies, structures, terminology, movement, contraindications and safety considerations covered in medical A&P.  Your medical training should include hands on Bodywork where you studied and performed soft tissue manipulation, joint work and Kinesiology.

If you do not know what A&P is, then you will need to take it upon yourself to complete this basic medical competency and meet the prerequisites for the ICTA programs.

If you have not worked with the human body using your hands, then you are not prepared to do safe, effective Cupping Therapy.

Q - What can I expect as far as physical effects from suction cup therapy?

A - The after effects of Cupping are most intense at the beginning of receiving treatments and lessen dramatically as your system becomes accustomed to the treatments as they cumulate.  Besides the effects Cupping provides for specific conditions, injuries and illnesses, some of the general after effects include: 

  • ​​Dermatological disorders
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Anxiety & Insomnia
  • Post-injury trauma
  • Post-surgery adhesions
  • Cellulite
  • Musculo-skeletal problems: pain, spasms, cramps, tightness, numbness, stiffness of the back and neck

Q - What does Cupping treat?

A - Cupping is a powerful detoxifying, pain relieving and energy building modality that people all over the world use for health maintenance.  There are also a huge number of conditions that respond positively to Cupping.  See below.

Contraindications For Cupping

  • ​Cupping is contraindicated in cases of severe diseases, i.e. cardiac failure, renal failure, ascites due to hepato-cirrhosis and severe edema, as well as hemorragic diseases such as allergic purpura, hemophillia and leukemia, and clients with dermatosis, destruction of skin, or allergic dermatitis.
  • Cupping should not be applied on the portion where hernia exists or has occurred in the past.
  • Broken bones, dislocations, hernias, slipped discs, organ failure,  and those undergoing cancer therapy are contraindicated for Cupping.
  • Cupping should not be performed on affected areas during teh acute stages of Psoriasis, Eczema or Rosacea.
  • Cupping should not be applied on effected areas during outbreaks of Urticaria (Hives), Herpes or Shingles.
  • Cupping is contraindicated for those with liver or kidney functional illness, Cardiopathy, 3D Varicosities or over recent surgical incisions.

During pregnancy:

  • Unless the mother has been recieving ongoing Cupping prior to their pregnancy - wait until the 2nd trimester.
  • Women who have not received Cupping and begin during breast feeding should express several days before the treatment and should wait a few days post treatment to return to breast feeding.
  • The lower abdomen, medial leg and sacral region should be avoided.
  • ​​Facilitates the movement of Qi and blood systemically and localy
  • Dispels wind, damp and cold to treat muscle and join pain, stiffness, and arthritis
  • Strengthens the immune system by promoting the flow of lymphatic fluid
  • Treats excess heat conditions, fever, stress, depression and anxiety
  • ​Cleans the blood and lymph and helps to balance PH levels

The color and pattern of the marks depend on the level of stagnation in the area, and range

from a bright red to a dark purple, usually lasting 3 days to a week - sometimes longer if the

person is very sick or sedentary.  If there is no stagnation present, there will be only a pink

marking which disappears in a few minutes to a couple of hours.​​

If the person receiving treatment sweats a lot on a daily basis - no marks may ever occur.

People who live/work/play in toxic environments (or were exposed to a heavy dose of toxic material)

may consistently mark.

Sites where there is old trauma or injury may require multiple Cupping treatments to remove all stagnation.  You will find in follow up treatments the marks will be progressively lighter as the pathogens are systemically removed from the body.


Since the techniques use negative pressure, rather than tissue compression, superior bodywork ranging from MFR (Myofacial Release) and deep tissue work to MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) is easily accomplished.  The suction of the cups rapidly facilitates rigid soft tissue release by stretching it up from underlying structures, thus loosening areas of adhesion or restriction, activating muscle spindle reflexes that relax contractile tissue and retraining the myofascial structures.  Further, it stimulates the nervous system reflex in the cerebral cortex, contributing to an increased rate of recovery from pain and disease.

The effects are remarkable on hypertonicity and aching muscles and activate the secretion of synovial fluids, which release joint stiffness in ways not possible using the pressure of traditional massage.  It concurrently creates localized expansion of tissue, producing a profound vasodilation reaction - drawing blood flow to areas of ischemic pain, raising skin temperature, promoting metabolism within the skin tissue for better functioning of sweat sebaceous glands, flushing capillary beds, draining stagnant blood, toxins and lymph, and re-supplying vital nutrients.

Its use in beauty therapy is based around promoting hormone production, encouraging blood and the secretion of digestive fluids and increased peristaltic movements in the bowels and internal organs, thus removing harmful toxins that speed up the aging process and other degenerative conditions.  Another effective application of the cupping technique is in the treatment of cellulite.  A very light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or "dimpling."  The thighs and hip region should be cupped prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of topical products.  Another application of Negative Pressure Massage include an extraordinary face lift and drainage treatment and the addition of new equipment that include negative and positive polarity magnet make Biomagnetic Therapy potentials tremendous.​ 

  • ​What is Cupping Therapy?
  • Who does Cupping?
  • What Does it treat?
  • Can I get training?
  • What can I expect as far as physical effects from suction cup therapy?

Conditions Responding to Cupping Therapy 

As these treatments gain wider audience and applications are addressed, new and sometimes surprising results occur.  This list is a partial, but steadily growing one that I will keep updated.

  • ​​​What is the explanation of the marks or discolorations that sometimes occur as a result from suction cup therapy?
  • What are the benefits of Cupping Therapy?
  • ​Contraindications for Cupping Therapy.Type your paragraph here.
  • craving for certain foods​
  • thirst and cotton mouth
  • emotional release
  • stronger than normal bowel & urine odors
  • skin surface warmer than normal
  • chills
  • restless (wanting to clean, organize, etc.)
  • soreness, like after strenuous exercise
  • feeling reduced mass, increased height
  • ​headachey

Benefits to the Recipient

  • ​​Bronchial asthma & congestion
  • Gyneocological disorders
  • Kidney disorders (including frequent/urgent urination
  • Dispels colds and respiratory infections
  • Relieves gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomachache, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Liver disorders
  • Gallbladder disorders
  • ​Activates the skin, clears stretch marks and wrinkles and improves varicose veins

Asha's  Holistic  Massage  Therapy


11 am - 9 pm Tuesday - Friday    +1.312.239.0913

Q - Who does Cupping Therapy?

A - Nowadays, health practitioners of many modalities are using Cupping to assist them in providing more effective methods for healing and recovery.  Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Physiotherapists, Sports Therapists, Nurses, Doctors - you can find a listing of those trained in Cupping (very important) - HERE.

  • ​​Colds & Influenza
  • Headaches
  • Abscesses
  • Arthritis
  • Intercostal Neuralgia
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Sciatica
  • Rheumatism
  • High blood pressure, stroke and arteriosclerosis
  • Chronic gastric pain
  • Vertigo
  • ​Menopausal discomforts