Cupping FAQs

Check out this video of fire cupping with Holly Leever, L.Ac.


How does it work?

During a cupping session, glass cups are suctioned on to the muscle layer. I will often use oil to lubricate the area, which enables me to slide the cups over the musculature in order to span a greater area. The suction draws the skin and superficial muscle layer in to the cup which allows for an increase in blood circulation, resulting in a reduction in tension and pain. The sessions feel similar to a deep massage and are very relaxing for the nervous system. After sliding the cups, I then leave them in in place for a period of 10-15 minutes.


How do you get them to suction on to the skin?

I use two different styles of cups in these sessions. One style is just an empty glass cup. I use flame to suction the oxygen out of the cup and quickly place the cup on the body and this creates a vacuum seal. This does not burn and most people don’t even feel the heat. I also use a style of cup that have a device that pumps the cups up through a valve. If you’re not comfortable with fire, I’m happy to just use the pump style cups. Don’t hesitate to let me know!


What is it used for?

Cupping may be used in the treatment of back and neck pain or tension, migraines and fatigue. It can also clear congestion from the common cold and may help to control asthmatic symptoms. Cupping is most commonly used on the back and neck area, but can be used on any painful or tense region of the body and may be used on the abdomen for menstrual and digestive issues.


Does cupping help with weight loss, cellulite or stretch marks?

I’m going to stick with no for now. Cupping helps to promote blood circulation, but I think it’s a stretch to say it can help with weight loss, cellulite or stretch marks because of that. I think it’s mostly a marketing scheme, but if someone has some solid, non-photoshopped evidence, I’d love to change my opinion on that.


Does it hurt?

The short answer is, no! When people see the marks that cupping leaves, they are often alarmed and assume it must be very painful. On the contrary, I compare the sensation to that of a deep massage. I can also adjust the suction to each person’s level of comfort and most find the session to be quite enjoyable.


What causes the marks?

Cupping will leave red or purple marks that will remain for about a week following the treatment. These marks are referred to as ‘sha’ and are an indication that the stagnation of blood in the area has been released. The marks are not actually bruises and are caused by drawing up old, stagnant blood from the deeper levels which cannot be accessed with more superficial treatments.


How long do the marks last?

The marks left by a cupping session will generally fade within 7-10 days. You will also notice that they will fade more quickly with regular sessions.


How long is the session?

Cupping sessions last about 45-minutes-1-hour


What should I wear for the session?

Comfortable, loose fitting clothing is recommended. You will remove your shirt (and bra for women). You will not need to remove your pants, so sweat pants or loose shorts are recommended for optimal comfort.


How do I take care of myself after the treatment?

  • Make sure to keep the marks covered (wearing a t-shirt or a scarf over them)
  • Drink plenty of water to ensure all of the toxins that have been released in to the tissues are cleared
  • Plan to have a restful day following the session (i.e. no intense workouts)
  • Abstain from alcohol the day of the treatment


How often should I have cupping?

In general, I suggest that you wait for the marks to heal prior to scheduling another cupping session. They usually take about 7-10 days to heal, so having a cupping session weekly is a great place to start. Some find that they only need cupping every other week. Your body will also need less treatment over time as cupping treatments have a cumulative effect. You can also use cupping whenever you’re feeling tense, stressed or just feel like getting in some self-care.



*Please be sure to eat a light meal and be well-hydrated prior to your cupping session


Other questions? Contact me here.