Stationary cups are placed on the skin and left for a period of five to 15 minutes in one location This is the process of using a vacuum on different areas of the body in order to gather the blood in that area without incisions (small, light scratches using a sterile surgical blade or disinfected razor).
Wet cupping (hijama)
This is the process of using a vacuum at different points on the body but with incisions in order to remove 'harmful' blood which lies just beneath the surface of the skin. (It is recommended that wet cupping (hijama) is only administered by a cupping therapist).
It is the more commonly used form of cupping among massage therapists and other health care practitioners. Prior to applying the cup, oil is applied on the skin to facilitate smooth movement and discover the areas of tension and congestion. Create the vacuum and place the cup on the affected area, then glide it over the surface. A cup may be "placed" for a short time on stubborn knots or over inflamed joints or tissue. Cupping can be used on the neck, shoulders, back, sacral area, hip, abdomen, thigh, upper arms and calves.
The sensation of cupping is often characterized as deep warmth and tingling, long after the treatment has ended. Cupping is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out yet does not add to it,. Massage cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, which is a wonderful addition to any massage. The treatment is painkilling, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. Larger cups may be used on the back; the strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining, or circular and stimulating, for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue.
The skin will redden with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments, analgesics, plant hydrosols or essential oils immediately following a cupping treatment will aid absorption deep into the tissue. The increased local blood supply will nourish the muscles and skin and allow toxins to be carried away. Clients have often reported that the massage cupping experience stayed with them longer than other treatments and that results are cumulative with consistent sessions.