Knots 'n Knead Massage Therapy

Fire Cupping Massage

It has been used for 5000 years!

What is CUPPING?



Cupping is a therapy in which glass jars or cups are suctioned onto the skin’s surface through negative pressure.  The suction and negative pressure drains excess fluids and metabolic waste (toxins) which stimulates the peripheral nervous system, bringing fresh blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin, loosening adhesions, connective tissue and stubborn knots in tissue.  Ancient Chinese medicine believes cupping opens up meridian pathways to allow Qi (Chi) to flow through.  When Qi flows freely throughout the body one enjoys good physical, mental and emotional well-being.  There are different types of cupping.  Stagnant Cupping is when the cup is placed over specific acupuncture points and left for a few seconds to a few minutes.  This stimulates the Qi at the point and can help clear a blockage of energy in the meridian.   This is often used to clear colds and flu’s as well as stimulates specific organs and release a specific area in the muscles or connective tissue. Sliding Cupping or Massage Cupping is when oil or lotion is first applied to the area to being treated and the cup is moved around.  This form of cupping releases the connective tissue and muscles on the area being treated, increases overall circulation.

Analogy: you have a blockage somewhere in your drain pipes and it starts to become sluggish and can become clogged and stagnates. It must be cleared by plunging like massage pushes fresh blood through the muscles, through suctioning like cupping draws the “blockage” through your skin pores, or by snaking (poking through) like acupuncture does by releasing the stagnation.


What areas can cupping be used on?

Cupping is most commonly used on the back because this is the location of 5 main meridians that connect with several organs. These meridians benefit highly from the clearing and detoxifying that cupping provides.  The back is also the most common area for pain and tension that can benefit greatly from cupping. However, cupping can be done anywhere suction can be achieved and works well for relieving disorders in the shoulders, neck and hips.

What are the marks left by cupping?

Cupping does commonly leave marks on the skin that vary in pattern and colour (from light red to dark purple), lasting from 3 days to a week; sometimes longer if the person is sick, sedentary or has had severe trauma to the area.  The marks are often mistakenly referred to as “bruising” because of how it looks; however, it is the dead static blood, lymph, cellular debris, pathogenic factors and toxins that are being released from the deeper tissue layers to the surface that leave the marks. Unlike a bruise, the marks are not from trauma to the muscle that results in bleeding under the skin and are rarely sensitive to touch afterwards unless there are large amounts of toxins being released.  By clearing this stagnation in the tissue it allows fresh oxygenated blood to nourish and heal the underlying areas.  As the stagnation clears over a series of treatments the marks will lighten and eventually cupping will leave no marks.


​What does cupping feel like?

With stagnant cupping you will experience a gentle pulling sensation. Sliding cupping feels very similar to massage with the pressure varying depending on the amount of suction and how the cup is being manipulated. With sliding cupping you can often get results of a deep tissue massage with less discomfort during and the following day after. Clients have often reported that the release from the sliding cupping stays with them longer and that the results are cumulative with consistent sessions.

Who can benefit from cupping?

Cupping can be beneficial for anyone with joint or muscle pain and tension, headaches, frequent colds and flu’s.  By clearing the meridians and focusing on stimulating specific acupuncture points it can also treat a variety of organ disorders.  It is a great alternative to acupuncture for those who have an aversion to needles, and is ideal for those who are not getting the relief they need from regular massage therapy treatments. It is a great treatment by itself or add it to your regular massage.



30 min (typical treatment) 

45 min (well conditioned athlete or used to very deep massage)