Unlike massage which kneads the tissue inward, cupping lifts muscle tissue upward to release tension and bring blood to starved tissue. Cupping utilizes vacuum pressure, a flame is inserted into the cup to burn off the air. The negative pressure from the lack of oxygen in the cup, placed upon the skin, lifts the tissue. Cupping especially on a person with significant energetic stagnation, will leave harmless circular petechiae marks which will resolve in a few days. Cupping improves circulation, can address colds, menstrual, respiratory, and digestive issues.
To learn more about and actually see cupping view CBS News story "'Cupping' Takes The Pain Away