Massage Cupping: Stationary vs Gliding


Michael Phelps brought so much publicity and awareness worldwide about “cupping” during the summer Olympics.  When an athlete as decorated as Michael Phelps relies on a therapy to achieve his success it warrants attention.  My last blog article, “Michael Phelps:  Cupping Spotlight” introduced cupping therapy and also debunked some of the myths about “cupping marks”.  This article will explain the difference between “stationary” and “gliding”cupping and debunk another myth:  that cupping always leaves ugly marks!

Stationary Cupping

Stationary cupping, also referred to as dynamic cupping, sports cupping, or orthopaedic cupping, involves placing cups on the body and leaving them on from anywhere from 1 -20 minutes.  Depending on the goal of treatment, sometimes there will be some assisted stretching or dynamic movement while the cups are in place.  This is the type of cupping that Michael Phelps used; and this type of cupping often will leave temporary cupping marks.  

Gliding (Massage) Cupping

Gliding cupping also called massage cupping and myofascial cupping involves placing the cups on the body and keeping them moving.  The cups become an extension of the therapists hands, and can be used therapeutically to the specific areas of need.  Thanks to the development of silicone cups and more pliable cupping materials these cups are safe to go over bone and around the joints.  This type of cupping does not leave any marks at all and brings the same benefits of stationary cupping.

If you are interested in cupping but not keen on the potential cupping marks gliding cupping may be the therapy for you.  If you have any questions about cupping or want more information, please give me a call.