Cupping is a percussion (also
known as tapotement)
It is therefore generally applicable to the fleshy
parts of the body, but not directly over bony pertuberances, not over
surface (superficial) nerves, not over
paralysed muscles, and not during
pregnancy. If in doubt about the safety of a movement don't perform
it - seek advice from a tutor or medical professional.
In the cupping movement, the whole of the palmer aspect of the hand is
shaped into a "cup" configuration by slightly flexing the fingers and
closing the hand into the form of a "cup" by adducting the thumb to meet
the index finger.
The hand is loosely held in this form and used to softly
strike the client's body via a loose rythmic action of the wrist. The
centre of the palm of the hand does not make contact with the client
and the hollow shape formed by the hand may give rise to the distinctive
sound of this massage action.
The speed of this action may be varied to suit the client
and the area that is being worked. Variation of the speed of the cupping
action determines the depth of the effect on the skin and its underlying
This is an extremely stimulating movement that is one of the more difficult
techniques for trainee therapists to master. It has also become a massage
technique in its own right. See, for example: Traditional Chinese Medicine Cupping Therapy: A Practical Guide