Cupping

Books about Massage

Books about Massage

Cupping is a percussion (also known as tapotement) movement.

In the cupping movement, the whole of the palmer aspect of the hand is shaped into a "cup" configuration by slightly flexing the fingers and closing the hand into the form of a "cup" by adducting the thumb to meet the index finger. The hand is loosely held in this form and used to softly strike the client's body via a loose rythmic action of the wrist. The centre of the palm of the hand does not make contact with the client and the hollow shape formed by the hand may give rise to the distinctive sound of this massage action.

The speed of the cupping action may be varied to suit the client and the area that is being worked. Variation of the speed of the cupping action determines the depth of the effect on the skin and its underlying structures.

This is an extremely stimulating movement that is one of the move difficult techniques for trainee therapists to master. It has also become a massage technique in its own right. See, for example: Traditional Chinese Medicine Cupping Therapy: A Practical Guide

When applied, cupping is generally only applicable to the fleshy parts of the body, so:

  • not directly over bony pertuberances
  • not over surface (superficial) nerves
  • not over paralysed muscles
    and also
  • not during pregnancy.

Note: If in doubt about the safety of a massage movement don't perform it - seek advice from a tutor or other appropriately qualified person.


This section consists of short summaries about the classical massage movements. This list of massage techniques is not exhaustive. For more general information about massage see also:

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