What to Do After Cupping

In this post, I’m going to introduce cupping and what to do after cupping to experience the maximum benefits of cupping.

Cupping has been a critical tool in my physical therapy toolbelt and continues to be a client-favorite. 

Let’s get to it.

Chain Effect cupping kit with cups and rubber pump

What is Cupping:

Cupping is a traditional eastern medicine practice that some physical therapists, acupuncturist, chiropractors and medical doctors have adopted into their practice.

It utilizes plastic cups strategically placed on your body to relieve sore muscles, aid in recovery, and increase blood flow.

A negative suction is created to increase blood flow through the different layers of your body providing relief of any pain or soreness.

At Chain Effect, we use a hand pump to create the negative suction.

The cups are generally held on the body for 3-5 minutes.

Clients may also be guided to perform a series of stretches while the cups are on, depending on their needs.

The video below shows a patient moving through a series of stretches while cups are placed on the back in order to loosen up her shoulder.

Who Uses Cupping?

Cupping can be utilized with all patient populations.

It is most commonly used in people who are active with exercise, sports, and activities. 

However, cupping can be implemented in any person feeling aches or pains for day to day life.

What Can Cupping Help with?

Cupping can help with muscle soreness, trigger points, muscle spasms, muscle pulls.

It can also be used to improve scar mobility on any past surgical incisions.

Chain Effect cupping kit with cups and rubber pump

What To Do After Cupping?

The best thing to do after cupping is to move the muscles that were just treated. 

This can be done through stretching, strengthening, and loading exercises. 

In my appointments at Chain Effect, I will always take clients through a combination of stretches and exercises following cupping that aim to increase the duration of pain/tissue relief provided by cupping.

New clients also receive a free 60-day gym membership to make sure they keep moving. Click here to book your cupping/PT session. Your offer will be active immediately following your first appointment.

What Do Cupping Marks Mean?

A cupping mark is made by the negative suction of the cup on the skin and the subsequent increased blood flow to that area.

The size of the mark is dependent upon the diameter of the cup used, the amount of negative pressure employed, and duration of treatment.

The darker the circles means that more blood has reached that area, and potentially more capillaries ruptured underneath the skin.

A dark circle is a sign of increased tissue tension and can give your cupping therapist a “road map” of possible locations of the source of your pain. 

These marks can last for 2-7 days depending on your skin complexion and effectiveness of the treatment.

Chain Effect cupping kit with cups and rubber pump

How to Get Rid of Cupping Marks Faster? 

Cupping marks last on everyone differently, mostly depending on the complexity of your skin. Here are a few things that can help get rid of cupping marks faster: 

  1. Water. Cupping can help release cellular waste from your tissues. Increased hydration can help the lymphatic system flush this waste.
  2. Cupping marks can be processed quicker with the use of Kinesio Tape (K-Tape) and massage, performed by your cupping therapist.
  3. Rest. The all-natural healer. If you’re having a hard time sleeping or not feeling well rested after sleep, try a NuCalm session. One hour in the NuCalm room is shown to be as effective in recovery as 4-6 hours of sleep! Click here to learn more about NuCalm.

What Not to Do After Cupping? 

There are no limitations on what you can do after cupping at Chain Effect!

You may experience mild soreness but the best thing to do right after a cupping treatment session is to stretch, strengthen, and load the muscles that you just worked on. 

Chain Effect cupping kit with cups and rubber pump


Now that you know what cupping is, you can discuss with your physical therapist if it’s a good treatment option for your specific pain.

For those wanting to explore other treatment options, dry needling is another fast and effective tool that we use at Chain Effect.

To get a tailored plan for pain relief, contact us.


Dr. Jason McLaughlin headshot

Written by Jason McLaughlin, DPT, CSCS.

Jason McLaughlin is an experienced physical therapist, certified Functional Dry Needling Practitioner, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who uses dry needling and cupping to deliver a first-class experience to his active clients at Chain Effect.