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Is there a difference between Vacuum Cupping and Massage Cupping Therapy?

Updated: May 24

Vacuum cupping therapy on patient

Cupping therapy is an alternative medicine where special cups are placed on the skin to create suction.

The suction may facilitate healing by increasing blood flow to the area, loosening muscles, and reducing inflammation.

There are several types of cupping, including dry cupping, wet cupping, and fire cupping. In dry cupping, the cups are placed on the skin and left in place for several minutes. Wet cupping involves making small incisions in the skin before the cups are applied, allowing a small amount of blood to be drawn into the cups. Fire cupping involves heating the air inside the cup before placing it on the skin, creating a vacuum effect.

Brent Ellis, RMT at Parkway Back and Foot Clinic, uses a vacuum machine, and the therapy is called vacuum cupping, also referred to as ACE cupping or ACE Massage Cupping. When using Cupping Therapy, we focus on fascial and muscle restrictions, scar tissue work and lymph drainage.

Cupping therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, including back pain, headaches, respiratory problems, and digestive issues. While cupping therapy is generally considered safe, it may cause temporary bruising or soreness. It is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before trying cupping therapy, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.

Massage cupping therapy and vacuum cupping are closely related but can differ in their techniques and applications.

Massage cupping therapy, also known as gliding cupping or moving cupping, involves applying massage oil or lotion to the skin and then using cups to create suction. The cups are typically moved across the skin in a gliding or circular motion, similar to a massage technique. This helps to promote blood circulation, release muscle tension, and provide a deep-tissue massage effect. The cups are often moved along the muscle fibres or specific areas of tension to target tight muscles and knots.

On the other hand, vacuum cupping typically refers to stationary cupping or static cupping, where the cups are placed on specific points or areas of the body and left in place for a specific duration. The cups create a vacuum or suction effect, drawing the skin and underlying tissues into the cup. This stationary suction can help increase blood flow, release muscle tension, and promote healing.

While both techniques involve using cups and suction, the main difference lies in their movement. Massage cupping involves actively moving the cups, whereas vacuum cupping focuses on the stationary placement of the cups.

It's worth noting that cupping techniques can vary among practitioners, and some may incorporate a combination of massage cupping and stationary cupping in their treatments. The specific approach used will depend on the goals of the therapy and the preferences of the practitioner.

If you are interested in learning more or booking a treatment for cupping, get in touch with our Massage Therapist, Brent Ellis, RMT. at Parkway Back and Foot Clinic.

Book a consultation to discuss how we can be of help at 905-662-9835

Parkway Back & Foot Clinic located in Stoney Creek serves Hamilton, Grimsby, Beamsville, Stoney Creek & Hamilton Mountain.


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