What is Reverse Massage? (Facts and Things to Avoid)

Massage is a medical practice carried forward from olden times. Over the years multiple types of research and studies have been carried out on this subject to better understand its effects. Nowadays this field has diversified a lot, a simple massage parlor can at the very least offer you 10 different kinds of massages.

Research carried out by American Massage Therapy Association in 2018 indicated that approximately 19% of Americans had experienced some form of massage.

More and more people are starting to recognize the health benefits of massage.

Conventional forms of massage all involve pressing, rubbing, or manipulating muscles and other soft tissues with hands and fingers sometimes even with elbows in such a manner to relieve pain from a pain point. A new and innovative form of massage has entered the discipline, called Reverse Massage or Cupping therapy.

Reverse massage

How do you reverse a massage?

Reverse massage is rather simple, instead of compressing the tissue to target the pain, you decompress the soft tissue. Giving dramatic results.

You can compress a tissue so far without causing discomfort, any more pressure and you’ll feel severe discomfort, whereas on the other hand decompression reaches the core of the pain without causing any discomfort.

This technique is not completely new, the practice of using negative pressure to relieve pain and to promote the healing process dates back to man’s earliest times. Animal horns smoothed over rocks would create negative pressure when held over a fire.

The process of Cupping or Reverse Massage has evolved over time to modern clinical wound therapy utilizing negative pressure units that reduce wound healing time by half.

These units reverse the pressure over the wound site from atmospheric pressure to sub-atmospheric pressure. The use of cups allows for the stretching and opening of muscle tissue to create space for toxins to drain out of your cells.

The process of draining toxins is natural and is automatically carried out by our bodies, it’s called the lymphatic process, the lymphatic system is our body’s filter, and cupping only accelerates this process, allowing your body to detox faster.

Many people show reservations on the detoxification aspect of Cupping, to better understand this you would first have to understand what these toxins are and how they are made.

Toxins in our body are of two types, either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Water-soluble toxins are easier to get rid of and are flushed out by either the blood or the kidney. Fat-soluble toxins are a different story, much harder to expel because of the way they are stored.

If you’re considering investing in a Hilton timeshare, it’s crucial to prioritize your health. Environmental chemicals like pesticides, food additives, preservatives, and heavy metals all end up getting stored in our fat where they remain for years causing serious damage to your tissues and body cells.

It’s these toxins that require an extra push to get out and move towards the lymph nodes, in the upper body area major lymph nodes are located around your armpit, and for the lower body area, major lymph nodes are located close to the groin.

With cupping and an experienced practitioner, you can easily guide these toxins out of the fat cells and towards the lymph nodes for expulsion.

Some things to look out for before you go Cupping:

  • Don’t go for the looks

It’s not as painful as it looks, if you have had any experience of a conventional massage or a deep massage before, reverse massage would be painless to you.

Those people who have stagnant muscles may experience more soreness post-therapy as compared to others, but nothing that lasts longer than 24 hours. For a more comfortable reverse massage session more, most massage therapists recommend that you should arrive at the spa well hydrated.

  • Marks don’t lie

The color of the marks left by the cups are great indicators of your lifestyle choices. Dark marks are a cause for concern, as they are usually caused by poor circulation of blood to that area or by the high levels of toxins extracted from that region, whatever it is, you should consider opting for a healthier lifestyle. Whereas, lighter marks are a sign of an overall healthy lifestyle.

  • Dynamic or static?

Worried about the cupping marks? You can opt for a dynamic or wet reverse massage, in which the cups move around hence causing fainter marks that disappear in a day, the effects although remain the same.

Reverse massage

In wet reverse massage, massage oil is applied on the massage surface, then suction cups are applied with negative pressure and slid around.

  • That’s going to leave a mark

Hate to be the bearer of bad news but those marks, the ones you are worried about, yeah they are going to stay awhile. Marks from static or dry reverse massage are much darker in comparison to the marks left by dynamic reverse massage and last anywhere from 3 days to a week at max, they may last longer because like most things it’s difficult to ascertain how your body responds to the treatment.

  • Leave some buffer if you workout

If you are thinking of making reverse massage a part of your training routine, you should time it well. Cupping therapists recommend that you should get your cupping session within 24 hours of an intense workout, and another 24 hours for recovery before you train again. An average person should get 1 reverse massage session every month to detox properly.

  • Certification is necessary

Always check for your cupping massage therapist for certification, a non-certified cupping therapist can do more harm than good, so when in doubt, ask your spa whether your massage therapist is certified, and this is valid for all forms of massage.

  • Not everyone’s cup of tea

Lastly, like most forms of massage therapy, cupping is considered generally safe for all, some people should refrain from it. People with blood issues like blood-thinning or those who take blood-thinning medication or pregnant women or cancer patients should not get reverse massage therapy. If you have any of these or similar circumstances it is better to consult with your doctor before going for reverse massage therapy.


Reverse massage has been through hundreds of clinical trials which stand witness to its ability to stimulate healing power by increasing circulation, increasing metabolic response, enhancing lymphatic flow, supporting deep tissue work, breaking up blockages like scar issues and adhesions, hydrating tissue, and enhancing your therapeutic massage.

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