Cupping & Massage

One of the many modalities we practice at Thrive is cupping. You might have recently become aware of the practice following the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Many of our American athletes (including swimmer Michael Phelps) bore the signature “bruising” during competition. The marks left behind following a session do not hurt, we assure you!

Cupping therapy is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. By using glass or plastic “cups” and heat, practitioners will adhere suction to the skin, directing the underlying energy within.


Cups are usually left on the skin around 15-30 minutes, depending upon the patient and their needs. Cupping is attributed to healing of deep scar tissue, muscle knots, swelling and pain – which is why it has become in vogue with athletes.

Cupping draws up the skin, opening pores and stimulating blood flow. This helps to balance and realign your Qi, breaks up obstructions in your body’s energy meridians and allows toxins to be drawn out.

We are beginning to see an increase in the number of massage therapists who are learning the art of cupping. Unlike acupuncture, it does not require a particular license or degree. But cupping is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and so you’ll often find the most experienced will be acupuncturists and other TCM practitioners.

Like cupping, massage uses heat to target below the surface of the skin. Not all massage therapists do “energy work” so it’s important to know what practices your massage therapist is involved with. Traditional massage employs the use of the massage therapist’s hands to compress tissue and move blood from an area, allowing the body’s natural ability to send fresh blood into the space.

Both cupping and massage engage the body’s parasympathetic nervous system and can be effective and complementary techniques with one another. If you have a regular massage schedule and are looking for ways to enhance your health, let us show you how cupping works in conjunction with massage therapy!

As students of an ancient healing practice that has existed for hundreds of years, our practice is based upon the understanding that Qi (or energy) may cause symptoms in one area but have a deeper underlying root cause.

Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness works with many other health practitioners in Rapid City and around the Black Hills to support the well-being of our entire community. We always want to find ways to connect with other health specialists and find areas of commonality. We have a massage therapist in our office and love to send acupuncture and TCM patients for massage body work.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *