Sports Pitch

Anyone for a cuppa?

Last updated: 4.34pm, Tuesday 2nd August 2022 by

If you have been as hooked on the Commonwealth Games as us, you may have noticed some of the swimmers with strange circles on their bodies. Kyle Chalmers the Australian who dominated the 100m freestyle seems a fan of cupping therapy. Here, our Massage Therapist Marianne tells us a little bit about the science and benefits of the ancient art of Cupping Therapy which we carry out here at the Clinic.

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping Therapy, also known as Myofascial Decompression, has been around for thousands of years and can be traced back to ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures. It is primarily used to remove or ‘suction’ unwanted debris from the body, help loosen muscles and increase flexibility.

The treatment involves several cups being placed on the skin which applies suction drawing the tissue into the cup and creating the circular marks that can easily be seen on the swimmer’s body which can last up to 10 days. Marking from this technique will vary from person to person with some having no evidence of the cups being on their muscles at all. The number of cups used will depend on the area of discomfort and it is always wise to start off with one or two cups with mild suction to get use to the process. There should never be any pain when undergoing Myofascial Decompression even if it looks a little scary!

The cups themselves, when suctioned onto the body create a negative pressure, lifting the connective muscle tissues, creating a pulling action, and allowing for the separation of fused or adhered tissues. Any tissues in our body that are ‘stuck’, inhibit optimal functioning and everyone wants optimal functioning, right?
So, what is the suction action actually doing under the skin I hear you ask? The blood vessels are being widened stimulating a local response allowing nutrient rich fluids to feed the damaged cells and remove waste, hopefully getting us closer to that optimal functioning we all dream of.

Why the marks?

These suction marks are a response to excess fluid and waste products between the cells being released during the cupping application. They may be sensitive but should never be sore and will fade away over time.

We all want to feel better, or perhaps just less sore!

Cupping has been known to help increase circulation, clear congestion and stagnation, hydrate and reduce pain within the muscle tissues.

While there are as yet no scientific studies that prove the beneficial aspects of cupping, I can share my own personal experience of the relief provided by these lovely wee cups of magic. As a keen badminton player (come into my treatment room and I may bore you to tears about my slowly improving cross court smash) I experience a substantial amount of discomfort after a week of non-stop playing. I do warm up and cool off and am a keen yoga participant but when I apply the cups to my tired and aching muscles, I can almost instantly feel a pressure releasing.


Like most techniques in healing therapies, cupping is not for everyone, and contraindications will include certain medications as well as skin and medical conditions. All of these would be discussed before any treatment would commence.

Final Thought

Whether you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain and discomfort, are a stressed out working from home individual, an athlete who has over trained or is competing in many races in a short period of time like Kyle Chalmers or you are just an obsessed badminton player like me, cupping may help enhance performance (fingers crossed for my cross-court smash) speed up recovery, lengthen muscles and connective tissues and improve overall wellbeing.

Next time you are in for a treatment at HSC do not hesitate to ask about this wonderful technique and together we can work towards decreasing any pain or discomfort whilst striving for optimal function.

We are committed to truly understanding your specific needs so that you get the best possible service. We recognise everyone is unique and our massage therapists will draw on their in-depth knowledge of physiology and anatomy to carry out the most appropriate type of therapy for you.

Click HERE for more info or to book a Sports Massage at Hampden Sports Clinic....