Gwyneth Paltrow does it, Jennifer Aniston does it and now Justin Bieber is doing it too. It’s probably the most unlikely A-list spa trend you’ve ever heard of, but there must be something in it! So, what exactly is cupping?
Cupping is one of the oldest spa therapies around – it has been used for approximately 5,000 years as a form of needle-free acupuncture in Chinese cultures. Over the past few decades, it has slowly grown in popularity in the West, and now it is featured on many spa menus across the UK.
Cupping involves placing heated glasses across key points on your body. A flame is lit inside the glass to warm it up, and this burns out all the oxygen, so that a vacuum is formed when each glass is placed upside down on your skin.
This creates a mild suction effect which draws up the skin, opening up your pores and improving your circulation. The cups are usually left on the skin for between five and 15 minutes, and can be moved across the body or focused on particular areas, according to your needs.
Much like a massage, cupping can help muscles and joints to stretch and relax, although cupping is a much more gentle option than, say, a deep tissue sports massage.
Which brings us to the main issue – does it hurt? If you try to do it yourself at home with a pint glass and a lighter? Yes. Massively. But when done by a trained practitioner the heat from the cups feels surprisingly pleasant – a bit like a hot stone massage.
It will take around five days for your cupping marks to fade after a treatment, but if you really want to channel that A-list attitude, you’ll wear them like a badge of honour.