What to Avoid After Cupping Treatment

Optimizing Your Cupping Experience: What to Avoid After Treatment

Cupping therapy has gained increasing popularity in recent years as a holistic approach to promoting healing, reducing pain, and enhancing overall well-being. This ancient practice involves the strategic placement of suction cups on the skin to stimulate blood flow, release muscle tension, and encourage the body's natural detoxification processes.

While cupping can be a highly beneficial treatment, it's important to follow proper aftercare guidelines to maximize the results and minimize any potential discomfort or side effects. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the key things to do - and more importantly, what to avoid - after a cupping session to ensure a safe and optimal experience.

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is an ancient healing technique that involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The suction draws tissue into the cup, which is thought to improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.

Cupping originated in ancient China and is now practiced worldwide as an alternative therapy. The cups are typically made of glass, plastic, or silicone and are placed on the skin, often on the back, chest, abdomen or buttocks. The suction is created by heating the air inside the cup and then placing it on the skin. As the air cools, it creates a vacuum that draws the skin up into the cup.

Cupping is used to treat a variety of conditions including pain, inflammation, blood disorders, skin problems, digestive issues and more. It is thought to work by increasing blood flow, removing toxins, and balancing yin and yang in the body. While some studies suggest potential benefits, the evidence is mixed and more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.

What is Smart Cupping Technology?

Smart cupping technology refers to advanced cupping devices that combine traditional cupping techniques with modern features and functionalities. These devices integrate suction, heat, and vibration therapy to provide a comprehensive and customizable cupping experience.

 Key features of smart cupping technology include:

  1. Digitized Controls: Smart cupping devices allow users to precisely control the suction intensity, heat levels, and vibration settings through digital controls or companion mobile apps. This enables personalized, targeted treatments.
  2. Integrated Therapy Modalities: In addition to suction, these devices incorporate heat and vibration therapy to enhance blood flow, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
  3. Built-in Safety Features: Smart cupping devices often have safety sensors and automatic shut-off functions to monitor temperature and suction levels, preventing skin irritation or damage.
  4. Portability and Convenience: Many smart cupping devices are compact, rechargeable, and designed for easy at-home use without the need for a professional practitioner.
  5. Potential for Enhanced Efficacy: The combination of traditional cupping techniques with modern technology may lead to improved outcomes compared to manual cupping, though more research is still needed.

By integrating these advanced features, smart cupping technology aims to provide a more customized, convenient, and potentially more effective cupping experience for users seeking the benefits of this ancient healing practice.


What does cupping feel like? Does it hurt?

Cupping therapy generally does not cause pain, though some people may experience the following:

You'll feel a sucking sensation and pressure as the cups are suctioned onto the skin. The cups can create a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle up into the cup, causing the skin to turn red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure. Some people describe the sensation as an "altogether different" feeling compared to a regular massage, with a lifting and stretching effect on the tissues.

Cupping should not cause pain, though you may experience some skin tightness during the procedure. After the treatment, you may feel slightly bruised or sore, but you should not have severe discomfort. The suction from cupping breaks open tiny blood vessels under the skin, creating the characteristic round marks, but these are not true bruises that injure muscle fibers.

Things to Do Before Cupping Therapy

Here are some key things to do before undergoing cupping therapy:

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your cupping appointment. Staying well hydrated helps your body flush out toxins and cellular waste that cupping helps release.

  • Eat a Light Meal: Have a light meal or snack about an hour before your appointment. Avoid heavy, greasy, or sugary foods.

  • Don't Shave: Avoid shaving the areas to be treated within 4 hours of your appointment. Some stubble is fine and better for your skin.

  • Recover from Sunburn: If you have sunburned skin, wait until it has fully healed before getting cupped. The extra warmth from the cups won't feel good on sunburned areas.

  • Avoid Aggressive Exfoliation: Exfoliating removes a layer of dead skin, making your skin extra sensitive. Wait a couple days after aggressive exfoliation before cupping.

  • Wear Loose, Comfortable Clothing: Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the areas to be treated. You may be asked to remove a shirt or other clothing during the assessment.

  • Bring Medical Info: Bring any relevant medical reports, a list of medications, and information about any serious medical conditions. This helps the practitioner assess if cupping is appropriate for you.

Following these tips can help make your cupping experience more comfortable and effective. Be sure to communicate openly with your practitioner about any concerns or questions you have.

What to do after cupping or a cupping massage:

  • Drink a lot of water: Water helps flush out the cellular waste that cupping helps release from your tissues.

  • Stay warm: Try to cover the area(s) where you received cupping. This helps maintain the warmth and promotes healing.

  • Rest: You may feel more tired than normal or experience flu-like symptoms after cupping. This is a temporary reaction by your immune system to the cellular waste that cupping helps release.

What to avoid after cupping or a cupping massage

  • Caffeine, alcohol, sugary foods and drinks, dairy, and processed meats: These foods slow down your body’s ability to process the treatment.

  • Hot showers, saunas, hot tubs, and strong air conditioning: After cupping, your skin will be more sensitive to temperature in the areas where the cups were placed. Give your skin time to recover.

  • Intense exercise: Avoid vigorous exercise for a few hours after the treatment to minimize discomfort and allow your body to recover.

  • Cold and windy conditions: Avoid exposing the treated areas to cold and windy conditions, which can cause discomfort and disrupt the healing process.

How Long Do Cupping Marks Last?

  • Cupping marks are not true bruises, but rather the result of the suction created by the cupping process. They are not painful.

  • The duration of the cupping marks can vary depending on the individual and the intensity of the treatment:
    • Lighter colored marks (pink/red) usually fade within a few hours to a couple days.
    • Red marks with dark spots tend to take 3 days to 1 week to fully disappear.
    • Deeper red or purple marks can last 1-2 weeks.
  • The more cupping treatments someone receives, the lighter and quicker the marks tend to fade over time. The body adapts to the process.

Read more about: The Benefits of Using a Red Light Therapy Cap?

Cupping Therapy Side Effects

  • Bruising/Skin Discoloration: The suction from cupping breaks tiny blood vessels under the skin, causing the characteristic round, red marks. These are not true bruises and typically fade within 1-2 weeks.

  • Burns: If the cups are heated improperly, it can lead to burns on the skin.

  • Infection: Improper hygiene or technique can potentially lead to skin infections, especially with wet cupping where the skin is punctured.

  • Fatigue/Headaches/Body Aches: Some people experience mild, temporary side effects like fatigue, headaches, or muscle aches after a cupping session. This is thought to be due to the release of toxins.

  • Dizziness: Rarely, some people may feel lightheaded or dizzy after cupping, likely due to changes in blood flow.

  • Bleeding/Anemia (with wet cupping): Wet cupping, which involves making small cuts before applying suction, carries a risk of excessive bleeding or anemia if not done properly.

Cupping is considered a relatively low-risk therapy when performed by a trained practitioner. However, certain precautions should be taken, especially for those with bleeding disorders, skin conditions, or other health issues. Consulting a qualified provider is recommended before trying cupping.

Experience the Benefits of Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is an ancient healing practice that can provide a range of potential benefits when done properly by a trained practitioner. To experience the full benefits, consider the following:

Find a Qualified Practitioner

Seek out a licensed acupuncturist, massage therapist, or other healthcare provider who is trained and experienced in administering cupping therapy. They can assess your needs and customize the treatment accordingly.

Communicate Your Goals

Be open with your practitioner about what you hope to achieve through cupping, whether it's pain relief, improved circulation, stress reduction, or something else. This allows them to tailor the treatment.

Prepare Properly

Follow any pre-treatment instructions, such as staying hydrated, avoiding heavy meals, and wearing loose clothing. This helps optimize the experience.

Relax During the Treatment

Cupping should not be painful. Try to relax and breathe deeply during the procedure to allow your body to fully respond to the suction.

Follow Aftercare Recommendations

After the treatment, drink plenty of water, avoid intense exercise, and keep the treated areas warm. This supports your body's natural healing process.

Be Patient and Consistent

It may take several cupping sessions to see the full benefits, especially for chronic conditions. Stick with the treatment plan recommended by your practitioner.

By working closely with a qualified provider and following their guidance, you can maximize the potential benefits of cupping therapy for your individual health needs. This ancient practice may provide relief, relaxation, and improved well-being.

What happens if you Shower after Cupping?

The main reasons experts advise against showering immediately after cupping are:

  1. Skin Sensitivity: The suction from cupping opens up the pores and makes the skin more sensitive. Exposure to hot water, cold water, or changes in temperature can irritate and inflame the treated areas.

  2. Interference with Healing: Cupping therapy works by stimulating blood flow and drawing toxins to the skin's surface. Showering too soon can disrupt this natural healing process.

Waiting at least 3 hours, and ideally longer, before showering after a cupping session. This allows the skin to start the healing process and the pores to close back up.

If you do need to shower sooner, the experts suggest:

  • Use lukewarm, filtered water instead of hot water
  • Gently pat the skin dry instead of rubbing
  • Avoid harsh soaps that could further irritate the skin

Showering too soon can potentially:

  • Cause skin irritation, redness, and inflammation
  • Disrupt the body's natural detoxification process
  • Increase the risk of infection in the treated areas

The general consensus is to avoid showering for as long as possible after cupping to let your body fully benefit from the treatment. Staying hydrated, wearing loose clothing, and applying gentle compresses are better aftercare options.


Cupping therapy offers a unique and effective approach to promoting healing, reducing pain, and enhancing overall well-being. By understanding the key principles of cupping and following proper aftercare guidelines, you can maximize the benefits of this ancient practice and achieve your health goals.

Remember, every individual's response to cupping may vary, so it's essential to communicate openly with your practitioner, listen to your body, and adjust your aftercare routine accordingly. With patience, consistency, and a commitment to self-care, you can unlock the full potential of cupping therapy and embark on a journey of holistic healing.


Q: How long should I wait to shower after a cupping session?
A: It's recommended to wait at least 3 hours, and ideally longer, before showering after a cupping session. This allows the skin to start the healing process and the pores to close back up.

Q: Can cupping help with weight loss?
A: While cupping may offer some benefits for overall health and well-being, there is limited evidence to support its effectiveness for weight loss. Cupping should not be considered a substitute for a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Q: How often should I get cupping treatments?
A: The frequency of cupping treatments can vary depending on your individual needs and the condition being treated. Some people may benefit from weekly or bi-weekly sessions, while others may only require occasional treatments. It's best to consult with your practitioner to determine the optimal treatment plan for your specific goals and health status.

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