Cupping Therapy – A Case Study



Prior to the appointment I made sure my Client was aware of any contraindications of cupping therapy including any open wounds, fractures or inflamed areas, and made sure she was aware of the possibility of the skin being marked due to the suction of the blood to the surface.

Having informed my client also how long this can last for and also that she may feel a slight twinge when the skin is pulled into the vacuum. My Client is one of my regular sports massage clients who volunteered to let me practice cupping therapy on.

On arrival – On the day of the appointment I welcomed my Client into my massage therapy room and sat down together to fill out a Client Consultation form.

Initial Consultation – I had set up this form specifically for cupping therapy, which enabled me to ask her questions which in turn helped me make a professional decision in order for me to decide what type of treatment is best.

Muscle Tightness – She explained that she had tightness In her right shoulder and struggles to completely turn her neck to the right side. As I am already a qualified sports massage therapist, I initially carried out a posture analysis concentrating on her upper body and alignment of both shoulders and hips. I noticed that there was a slight tightness in the right side of her trapezius muscle which was causing elevation in her right scapula which has a knock on effect for the alignment of latissimus dorsi muscle and also tightness throughout the middle of her back.

I explained what I had found to Client and my ideas of the right treatment and she signed the form and we agreed to continue with the treatment.

Start of Treatment – I started off with a deep tissue massage using oils on her upper body including trapezius, levator scapulae, serrates anterior and rhomboids as I know these are the muscles which stabilise and rotate the scapula.

Deep Tissue Massage – Techniques used – With there being a tightness in her trapezius muscle I used the myofascial release technique to try and lengthen this and release any tightness around this area before massage. I worked on the latissimus dorsi which also is responsible for flexion, extension, abduction etc of the shoulder joint which she felt like she was struggling with.

Applying the cups – Following the deep tissue massage I applied cups whilst relating back to the course content ‘islamic cupping, muscle point’ numbers 1, 55, 40, 4, 20, and then around the effected areas. I applied the cups using a hand operated pump by connecting the pump to the head of the silicone cup and pumping the handle which draws out the air inside.

cupping therapy

Silicone V Glass cups – After doing my own research I feel like these Silicone types of cups are best as you are in control of the amount of suction being applied compared to the glass cups.

Removing Toxins – I applied a lighter pressure on the trapezius muscle as I knew this would be a sensitive area and then a medium suction on the other areas as she had not had it done before so did not want to do It too strong. I moved the smaller cups around which where closest to the neck to help lengthen the muscle and fascia layers. And then left the cups to draw up and toxins.

Timing of cups – I left the cups on for around 10 minutes and during this time explained to Client how the suction works. I explained my understanding that it can help injury by increasing blood flow to the affected area, which assists damaged tissue. It then releases fluid in these areas which can be known as toxins or lactic acid. Thes e are drained away and which enhances blood circulation. During this time I also asked Client how she was feeling and she said she felt a slight pinch when the cups went on around the neck and shoulders and less of a twinge down her back.

Advise to clients whilst cups in place – I advised her to take deep breaths to allow more oxygen to transport around the body, in which she did and the twinge feeling lessened to a point where she couldn’t really feel it she could just feel the suction on the skin.

Removal of cups – Once the time was up I removed the cups by releasing the pressure inside and allowing air back into the cups, and then took the cups off the skin.

I then massaged the circles left on the skin to assist in the recovery and to allow the skin to relax into its normal position.

How Cupping Therapy Works

End of Treatment & Aftercare Advise – Following the treatment I told Client to remain lying down for a couple of minutes before standing up so she didn’t feel any dizziness.
I gave her after care advice by telling her to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and rest to help release any toxins in the body and allow more fluid to the muscles. I advised her to avoid exercising, saunas & hot baths for 24 hours to help with recovery.

Conclusion & Feedback to the client- The results shown certain areas with a lot more stagnation in the blood than other areas which meant there may be coldness in the body and tension. The main areas showing stagnation were on her mid back around the scapula which I expected.

I explained that this may be due to stress too as she has a busy and hectic lifestyle so I feel that she holds a lot of tension across her back and especially due to the stresses weight training applies to the body.

Client Feedback – I contacted Client 2 days later after her treatment to ask her how she is feeling and she said ‘I feel great, I have been able to turn my head fully to the right side without any real restrictions and perform any pressing type exercises overhead in the gym without feeling pain, I am able to sleep better at night.’

Next Appointment– Client has booked in for a follow up session in two weeks time in which I will complete similar assessments and be able to help her further and encourage restorative action in the deeper tissues of the body. She told me the circles form the cups lasted a couple of days with the darks ones lasting up to a week.

End of Case study

Observation – This is a great case study and the students is able to complete a professional cupping therapy service due to not only learning about cupping and the correct way to carry out this type therapy but the student also has a good knowledge of massage and experience in different types of movements and techniques.

If you would like to learn more about cupping and feel this is a therapy you would like to offer your clients then you can download this course or enroll as part of the Massage Career Package Option

Cupping Set
Hansol Professional Cupping Therapy Equipment Set with pumping handle 17 Cups & English Manual – Visit our Store for Holistic Products

cupping sets

Alternative Massage Therapies 

This is just one of many massage therapies and is also known as Hijama cupping and is popular both in China the Middle East. If wishing to offer this type of therapy then you should also have a good knowledge of Aromatherapy or basic Massage.


Cupping Therapy Certificate Course

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