Massage Cupping in the Olympics

What is massage cupping and how is it used in our office?

   There have been many questions about the circular marks left on some of the athletes in the Olympics this year. The marks are from a modality called massage cupping. It has been around for thousands of years, however has only recently become a popular modality among therapists. It is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, where a suction cup is used to pull on the tissue, as opposed to pressing into the tissue with traditional massage.

     There are many different techniques to use with the cups depending on the desired outcome. Some therapist leave the cups in one spot ( this is more common with and acupuncturist) some therapists move the cups around the specific muscles they are working on. While some may use the cups similarly to hot stone massage where they are using the cups for a majority of the massage in more of an effort towards relaxation. At Oak City Massage Therapy, we use a combination of leaving the cups in one place and moving them over a specific muscle. We have found that while the inward pressure of massage is very beneficial, using the cups to provide an outward pressure can drastically increase the effects of massage. This can be much more tolerable on a tender muscle and it brings circulation to an area much quicker. The cups come in handy (pun intended) when we get to a muscle that will not let go. The outward pressure and increased blood flow relaxes the muscle right away. With the ability to leave a cup in one spot we can work on another area at the same time. The cups have made the difference in many of my clients recovery times. Although they can leave strange marks, they are only temporary and in most cases are worth the relief!

      Although massage cupping is not for everyone, it can make a therapy session much more effective, possibly shortening the time it takes to heal from an injury, loosening muscles in less sessions than normal, and releasing chronic pain that became a part of life. Massage cupping is not just for Olympians, if you are an athlete, go through repetitive movements at work, or are stuck at a desk all day, massage cupping may be for you! Give us a call today to schedule your appointment, 919.322.8382!


Convenient to Cary, Morrisville, Apex, and Raleigh for Medical massage, Sports massage, Prenatal massage, and Relaxation massage.

Oak City Massage Therapy