When I took a cupping course in early May, I was totally expecting to come home looking like Polkaroo with those dark, bruise-like perfect circles that cupping is known for. To my surprise, I found out that cupping doesn’t always leave marks. Of course in my case, the one that did was in the middle of my forehead but I didn’t even care because it got rid of my headache in two minutes and the mark disappeared in a few days. Jeannine of the Vankleek  Hill Massage Clinic says sometimes the marks can show up even a day later on some people. Dark marks tend to occur in areas where there is stagnation or muscle soreness.

Soft silicone cups (there are different types of cups but Jeannine and I both use silicone) are pushed to create a vacuum. The skin gets sucked into the cups, lifting and separating the superficial layers of skin and muscle. Since massage is typically pushing down, cupping provides a nice change. It feels amazing – that’s what drew me to the course. The cups can be applied with a quick ‘set and release’ pattern, left on for several minutes, or my favourite, gliding. Gliding is ideal for those who don’t want to risk the marking. Much like a massage, cupping is great for relieving muscle tension and it’s associated pain.

If you are ok for massage, you are usually fine for cupping, although anyone with heart problems should not be cupped. In Vankleek Hill, both Amell Massage Therapy and the Vankleek Hill Massage Clinic provide cupping. Ask about adding it to your next massage.