Cupping therapy has been around for millennia all over the world, from Asia to Africa. In China it is common place. In most Eastern European households you’ll find a set of cups which are used as the first port of call when colds come through.
Michael Phelps the Australian Gold Medal Swimmer would say Cupping is like the reverse of massage. Instead of a pushing sensation, cupping creates a pulling sensation. It pulls the blood up to the surface. It assists the body in venting to the surface. So can be used at times when the body needs to do be doing this, like during a cold. It is also helpful when muscles have become tight and stuck. The cupping sensation creates more pressure on these already tight muscles coaxing them to relax and bring fresh blood and restore flow to constricted blood vessels.
A very relaxing part of cupping is when ointment is first applied to the skin and the cups are applied lightly and dragged across the skin. The lift allows the layer between the skin and muscle to free up and glide for fluids and lymph to move.
The cups are usually not left on the skin for more than 10 mins so are one part of a treatment session.
“Olympic Cupping: Why Swimmers Are Doing It | Time.” Accessed March 2, 2020. https://time.com/4443581/michael-phelps-cupping-olympics/.
Cao, Huijuan, Mei Han, Xun Li, Shangjuan Dong, Yongmei Shang, Qian Wang, Shu Xu, and Jianping Liu. “Clinical Research Evidence of Cupping Therapy in China: A Systematic Literature Review.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 10 (November 16, 2010). https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-10-70.