Thai cupping massage is a traditional bodywork therapy that uses glass, silicone, or bamboo cups to suction the skin. During a cupping massage, a therapist applies the cups to the back, arms, legs, hips, and even other body regions like the stomach, neck, or face. They are placed and left for several minutes or moved up and down the spine with oil.
This negative pressure facilitates the draining of excess fluids and toxins, stimulates the peripheral nervous system, and brings blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin. The suction also loosens adhesions, connective tissue and stubborn knots in soft tissue. Once at the surface of the skin, the lymphatic system can more efficiently dispose of the toxins.
Cupping has been recently made more famous through various Asian bodyworks like Chinese medicine. However, it has a very long history in many cultures as an effective therapy for several ailments, including colds and cases of flu. In Thailand, this style of massage is most common in areas with a sizeable Chinese population, like in Bangkok.