Cupping therapy may be really trendy now, but it's not new. Dating all the way back to ancient Egypt, China, and the Middle East, its therapeutic qualities have long been recognised.
Cupping is considered to be a form of alternative medicine, and is closely linked with traditional Chinese medicine. It is a very specific skill and you should always book with a recognised practitioner.
There are two distinct forms of cupping therapy - dry and wet. Most people opt for dry cupping as the alternative does sound a little scary at first.
The traditional way of carrying out dry cupping is for the practitioner to burn a small amount of flammable material in the cup. When the fire goes out, the cup will be placed upside down on your skin. As the cup cools, it creates a seal and a vacuum, which leads to those raised red circles you see on the skin.
This may seem like a strange treatment to have, but it's actually very beneficial in treating pain and inflammation. It also acts like a deep tissue massage to give you a real sense of peace and relaxation.
Traditional cups are made from glass, earthenware or bamboo. Some cupping practitioners use silicone cups or a rubber pump so, if you prefer a more authentic treatment, be sure to ask what they use when you book.
With wet cupping, treatment starts out the same but, when the cup is removed, the practitioner makes some tiny cuts on your skin with a small scalpel. Cupping is then repeated, in order to draw out a little blood.
This type of cupping therapy is believed to draw out toxins and other harmful substances from your body.
Do be aware that, although not painful, cupping will leave marks on your skin for a couple of days, so definitely don't go for a session straight before a big night out. Generally the marks are red, but they can appear bruised if the session was to treat an injury or energy blockage.
Qualified cupping practitioners, like the ones you'll find here at BookWell, believe this ancient treatment offers many beneficial effects.
If you're concerned about cupping therapy side effects, rest assured. Apart from that redness or mild bruising we mentioned, most people experience no side effects with dry cupping.
If you opt for wet cupping, you may feel a little discomfort. The practitioner may apply soothing medicated ointment and a dressing.
If you are unsure whether a cupping treatment is suitable for you - for example, you may be pregnant - why not discuss it with your doctor first. And you should always share any concerns with the cupping practitioner.
Interestingly, the number of people seeking cupping therapy swells dramatically every time the Olympic Games take place. This is due to the fact that many members of the Australian, US and Chinese swim teams have been spotted - quite literally!
Ever since Australia's Michael Phelps showed off his cupping 'bruises' at the Rio Games, this treatment has enjoyed celebrity status.