Cupping therapy is a very old medical treatment that relies upon creating a local suction to mobilize blood flow in order to promote healing. Basically, suction is created using either fire or a hand pump in order to draw fluids and stagnating blood that is trapped in knotted or densely compacted muscle and connective tissue. When these fluids stagnate they inflame tissue and cause chronic pain and tissue denigration. By drawing it to the surface, those fluids are reentered into circulation to be removed, and fresh blood and oxygen is able to return and initiate the healing process. The use of cupping therapy has been a part of most cultures throughout the world.
Similarly, Gua Sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. The smooth edge is placed against the pre-oiled skin surface, pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles in order to literally push the blood through the muscle, flush it out, and realign the connective fascia of any knotting. Effective for chronic pain and tightness, but not for the faint of heart. Both treatments may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing, which usually takes 2–4 days to fade.