This history of cupping dates back as early as 3,000 BC in Egyptian, Greek and Asian cultures where the intention was to affect energy meridians as well as physical structures.
The modern day adaptation of Myofascial Cupping is where a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced by suctioning out air, so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup. In some cases, the cup may be moved while the suction of skin is active, causing a regional pulling of the skin and muscle and therefore a more broad release.
Most manual massage therapy techniques involve positive pressure of pushing into the body, however Myofascial Cupping is unique in that negative pressure is the means for changing tissue adhesions. Though the skin may be temporarily discolored by red rings or hickey-like marks from the suction in the cup, this is not the intention of the therapy and therefore the success of the treatment is not gauged in this way.
For a better understanding of fascia in the body, please see “Myofascial Release“.