January 19, 2018

What is Cupping Therapy?

cupping therapy

Confused about Cupping Therapy?  Here, we’ll  run you through a Q&A of everything to do with this ancient therapy.


Cupping Therapy

Not THAT kind of cup.

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. Air is taken out of the cup to create a vacuum, so when it’s placed on the skin it will draw it up into the cup. The cups can be made of glass, bamboo, earthenware or silicone. At Fluid, we use glass cups, and mainly perform flame cupping.

Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C. Cupping therapy was even recommended by Hippocrates, the man whom many consider to be the “Father of Modern Medicine,” in his guide to clinical treatment.


What can it help with?

Cupping has been used to treat pain and inflammation for centuries.  It has been known to relax muscles, encourage blood flow and ease high blood pressure by soothing the nervous system.

Our myotherapists will use cupping to apply a hyper-tensile force – lifting the fascia up from the muscle – rather than applying a sheer force down as used in deep tissue massage.

We also use it to release neuromuscular holds. Sometimes the brain tells the muscle to contract when it doesn’t need to, especially after a day sitting at a desk. You’ll come home and your shoulders will be around your ears.  A therapist will use cupping to ease muscle tension and encourage blood flow, helping you to relax.

Michael Phelps Cupping

Michael Phelps rocking the cupping marks at the Olympics


What does it feel like?

You usually will feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup. Often, this sensation is relaxing and soothing.  Sometimes it might feel like someone is giving you a hickey.


What about the infamous cupping marks?

They look like bruises, but they’re not painful. Cupping causes the skin to temporarily turn red, blue or purple, especially if there is an injury or ‘energetic blockage’ under the area that was cupped. The skin discolouration can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. The cupping marks won’t hurt like bruises, and once the marks have cleared, the procedure can be repeated until the condition or ailment is resolved.

Gwyneth Paltrow made cupping a celebrity fad


What are the different types of cupping?

There are a number of methods of cupping — the two most common here in are “fixed cupping” and “moving cupping.”

Fixed Cupping:

The cups are placed on a selected area of your body and then left in place without being moved.

Moving Cupping:

As the name implies, in this method your practitioner will apply massage oil or cream on your skin in selected places. They’ll then put the cups over the areas to be treated, and then slide them around that region of the body — usually around your back. The cups slide easily and it feels like a nice massage.

Dynamic cupping

Dynamic cupping – also known as functional cupping – is used to treat certain types of fascial distortions that cause muscle pain. Once these silicone cups are in place, the underlying muscles are contracted and taken through a range of motion. This relieves tissue tensions, and results in pain relief.

Anything else I should know?

Cupping is not scary and it’s fairly safe, as long as you go to a trained professional. It’s one of the many treatment modalities that we offer at Fluid Health, so if you are interested in booking a session, give us a call on 03 99391133 or you can click here to book online. You can also find out about Cupping at Fluid Health by clicking here.




Christmas Jimmy

Here at Fluid, we want to take the hassle out of getting that perfect present for that special person.  So let us do all the hard work for you.

Purchase a 60 minute treatment voucher for $98, and not only will we send the voucher to your loved one, you’ll get a FREE complimentary Sports Recovery Session, valued at $55.

Give this free session to your loved one, or keep it and try the Recovery Centre for yourself.

Sports Recovery Session Includes:

To purchase a gift voucher, call us on 03 99391133.  We can take credit card payments over the phone, and we’ll send the voucher to the recipient for you.

Give the gift of good health this Christmas.



Here at Fluid Health, we maintain great relationships with some of the best Allied Healthcare practitioners in the business.  We do this so that if we cannot treat your issue, we know we can refer to you see the best person who can see you right.

Meet James Nicola, Sports Chiropractor.  James is well-known in the industry as a thorough and precise expert in spinal health.  Fun fact: James worked as a sports chiropractor in the Rio Olympic/ Paralympic Village polyclinic where he treated a number of gold and silver medallists, including one Paralympic athlete who broke the world record in power-lifting just two hours after being treated!

Here, James answers a few questions for us on what he’s all about.


Who are you and what do you do?

James Nicola
I have 14 years of experience as a sports and family chiropractor. Prior to completing my chiropractic studies, I completed a degree in Human Movement (Sports Science) so I have an intimate understanding of how the body works when exercising and how to best integrate exercise as rehabilitation. I tailor my treatments to each individual’s needs and preferences.

I have worked with international-level athletes, world record holders and world number one professionals from various sports. I also recently worked on athletes in the Olympic Village Polyclinic at the Rio Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.


Where is your clinic?

I primarily work out of the Bay Street Medical Centre just down the road from Fluid at 120 Bay Street, Port Melbourne. In a few weeks, I will begin to also work at the Glenferrie Sports and Spinal Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also hold the post of the head doctor for the Genova International School of Soccer (a group who identify talented youth from around the world and offer them elite level training and opportunities to sign with top clubs in Europe).


Who is your typical client?

Although I see many athletes, I typically see patients of all ages and all activity levels. My priority is to treat every patient I see with same level of care regardless of what condition they present in. Some of my patients are elite professional athletes and some patients come to me in tremendous disability, such as from failed surgeries and multiple comorbidities. I also see families, pregnant women and kids.


How does what you do work in with the soft tissue work we do at Fluid?

I have referred many patients to Fluid over the years because I know they are industry leaders in soft tissue therapies. I can communicate to the therapists at Fluid  easily and let them know my findings and give my recommendations.

James Nicola Seated

Dr James Nicola

What do you love to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I am a bit of a fitness fanatic. I try to keep fit with weights in the gym, sprint work on the track and a bit of soccer and boxing. I enjoy the social component of exercise as much as the physical benefits. I also love going on holidays, particularly somewhere warm with good food and nice beaches!



You can read a bit more at Dr Nicola here and you can click here to make an appointment with him at ProWellness Health Centre/Bay Street Medical in Port Melbourne.