Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (either by heat or suction) in order to draw and hold skin and superficial muscles inside the cup. Cupping has been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, help activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries, and activate the skin. Cupping is a good way of deep tissue massage as well.
However, cupping can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. With the skin under a cup drawn up, local blood vessels will expand. This may result in small circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. Depending on the degree of toxicity in the muscle tissue, treatment will result in either only a slight reddening of the skin for slight toxicity, or a rather nasty looking bruise of high toxicity. These bruises are usually painless, however, and will disappear within a few days of treatment.