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cupping massage

Recently a few gal pals and I went to the five star Kohler Spa in WI to enjoy a couple days of spa treatments and relaxation, an evening of wine and laughter and an overnight in the fancy hotel with some pretty amazing fixtures and bath decor.

Upon arrival at the Carriage House, you are welcomed with wine or champagne. The rooms in the Carriage House are spacious and charming and each room features a Kohler Showering Experience and whirlpool bath. Each evening there are complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres and each morning begins with a lovely breakfast buffet included. Don't forget afternoon tea to round out your day of complimentary dining! Sounds horrible, doesn't it?

I was really looking forward to visiting the spa and enjoying a therapeutic water treatment, a dip in the relaxation pool and lounging around at the enclosed rooftop pool deck with the ladies, followed by a light and lovely lunch of spa fare.

Many of the guests enjoy the amenities while lounging in the luxurious Kohler robes, but I honestly could not do it. My years of hotel training have taught me that robes are only appropriate in the guest rooms or while at the pool or in the spa. Needless to say, by the end of my treatment, I was eating my spa lunch in my robe. When in Rome...

When I reviewed the spa menu, the cupping massage grabbed my attention. Tell me what doesn't sound totally amazing about the following: "An ancient form of alternative medicine, cupping uses a vacuum approach to apply negative pressure to create suction. Your therapist will place suction cups on specific-need areas, improving blood flow, relieving tension and aiding in overall relaxation. 80 minutes includes a full-body massage." And it includes a massage! I was in!

I have a couple sets of silicone massage cups and have used the process on my family to help relieve pain from sports, arthritis and overuse. I have not had cupping done on me, so this would be a treat! My previous blog post about cupping therapy is here.

I booked my appointment for late morning, so that I could enjoy the icy plunge pool, waterfall pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room before my treatment. I wanted to do all the things! Its not everyday that I'm at a five star spa hob-nobbing with the jet-setters.


When you enter the locker room, you have your choice of flavored water or tea and they have healthy snacks (apples, nut free granola, nuts) all around the spa. It's delightful. You wait in a cozy room with a fireplace and water feature for your therapist to call you. Upon entering the treatment room, I first noticed the tray on the bed with an orchid. This was for my glasses! How thoughtful! The treatment table was heated and had amazingly soft sheets and a blanket so that I was warm and comfy.

I started the treatment on my stomach, was asked to breathe deeply and my head was massaged with aromatic oils. While I still had the sheet covering my back, the therapist, Corrine, put a heated pillow along my spine and then massaged by back through the sheet. ahhhhhh

She removed the sheet for the full back massage and then used arnica & turmeric muscle & joint gels with lavender body oil before using the silicone cups to massage up one side of my back and down the other. Then she set the cups in place - 3 on each side - and covered my back with the sheet and blanket while she started the foot massage.

Corrine then released the cups and massaged my back with them again, followed by a hot towel to remove the oil and give me that "scrubbed" feeling.

After I flipped over, I received a chest and neck massage with the cups and olive, fig and shea butter body cream, then a massage on my arms, then my feet again. Another hot towel, and then the face massage with an avocado spritz. The coup de grace was the head massage to finish the treatment. I was a wet noodle for sure.

The massage was amazing, and adding the cupping was a very unique experience. It was experiencing the pain and pleasure principle. The suction created by the cups stretch and pull your skin until its almost too much, then the areas are massaged to relived some of the pain and move the blood around. Yes, there were cupping marks for days, but no pain. I just felt some relief from my normal muscle tightness and soreness in my shoulders and back. The massage was the icing on the cake! If you suffer from stiffness or pain, I would recommend giving a cupping massage a try. You might find your new favorite self-care treatment.


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