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What is Fire Cupping?


The use of Cupping as a way to decompress the muscle tissue using negative pressure allows for a much quicker and less invasive muscle response than traditional compression massage. The suction of the cups quickly releases soft tissue adhesions by stretching the area up, separating layers of muscle creating the adhesion. In addition, it stimulates the nervous system, contributing to an increased rate of recovery. 

- 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

- Facilitates the movement of Qi and Blood systemically and locally
- Dispels wind, damp and cold to treat muscle and joint 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

Contraindications - When to Avoid

  • 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 hemorrhagic diseases such as allergic purpura, hemophilia 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 the 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 receiving 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. To prevent overloading baby with dispelled toxins.

How it works

Traditional Fire Cupping uses glass cups and forceps with alcohol soaked cotton balls to retain a strong clean flame. This method ensures the creation of an adequate heat vacuum inside the cup when the flame is flashed inside before application to the skin. No flame actually touches your skin therefore, no heat is applied.  Cupping is most often performed on bare skin on the neck, shoulders, and back, but I have been throughly taught and practiced lower body cupping as well.

Once applied to the skin, cups can be left stationary or be moved over the surface of the skin (often called “gliding” or “sliding” cupping) using oil. Cups are generally left in place for 5-10 minutes at a time unless I am performing Greek Flash Cupping which helps those who suffer from congestion in the form of allergies or post illness. The cups will feel tight, but should not be pinching or painful. I usually start out light and increase pressure so I can then adjust and "gas" the cups if suction if needed. Most of my clients find that the cupping gives them the extra mile in making the effects of their session last longer.

*The glass cups I use are handblown from Seattle!

Side Effects / Discoloration Marks

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 accumulate. :

- 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"
- inability to sleep                     - vivid dreams

- night sweats                           - heightened senses
- craving for certain foods         - thirst / cotton mouth
- emotional release       

- skin surface warmer than normal
- chills              - soreness, like after strenuous exercise


Often, when a condition exists within deeper structures where sufficient pathologic factors and stagnant fluids (toxins, blood and lymph) are dredged up during treatment, discoloration will appear on the skin as cupping marks.

This is the therapeutically desired effect – the more this is visible, the greater the level of stagnation and toxicity.

The discoloration will fade over a few days.

The release of stagnation and buildup has been dispursed and drained – (usually by the 3rd or 4th treatment) no discoloration is likely to occur at all. Even though each time the cupping may have been focused on the same area for the same duration and with the same amount of negative pressure. This is clearly the result of having internal unwanted toxins systematically purged. 

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