Basic Face Cupping Instructions

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Face or Facial Cupping is known to be used in European countries as a non surgical facelift and becoming more popular in North America as of recent. Face or Facial Cupping should be performed using flash cupping (quick suction and release) and dynamic gliding motions with light suction in slow rhythmic repetitive glides so as not to leave marks on the face. Face Cupping has been known to help reduce puffiness, remove stagnation, stimulate fibroblasts which stimulates collagen and elastin aiding in lifting and plumping the tissue. 

This increase in collagen and elastin contributes to the anti-aging, wrinkle reducing, lifting and plumping effects that has everyone talking about the wondrous benefits of facial cupping. We recommend the GRIP Classic cups , Small Glass or Poly cups with bulbs for facial cupping as these cups have light suction and are designed for the face.

These basic Face Cupping Instructions are in no way intended to replace professional instruction and is intended to assist the therapists in providing basic face cupping instructions for patients/clients to perform Home Use Self Care face cupping in addition to professional sessions.

Before we go into the “HOW TO’s” of facial cupping, we feel it’s important to have some basic information on the lymphatic system as facial cupping dramatically influences the lymph drainage from the facial tissue.

The Lymphatic System is responsible for 

  • Removing Wastes from the Body
  • Fighting off Infections
  • Distributing Nutrients from Digestive tract to bloodstream

Lymphatic Cupping not only draws out interstitial fluid and debris from within layers of the soft tissue, bringing it up superficially for lymphatic disposal, but also has the ability to support movement of lymph fluids along drainage pathways.


  • Lymphatic System collects, filters and disposes of as much metabolic waste as possible
  • Cellular Debris (cellular waste, old blood, medications) in interstitial fluid enters lymphatic system lymph capillaries then travels to through larger lymph vessels toward removal through the main drainage ducts in the upper torso (right and left thoracic ducts)
  • System flows in one direction from distal regions of body (near skin’s surface from furthest points, like hands and feet) toward the heart.


Lymphatic System has no pump and relies on muscle movement, lymphatic valves and negative pressure in chest during respiration to move lymph. In face Cupping, we mimic the intermittent decompression  of lymphatic cupping which accelerates the filling and emptying of the lymph capillaries.


Face Lymphatic Nodes

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How Cupping Benefits the Lymphatic System Functions

    • The negative pressure or vacuum of cupping clears localized underlying tissues and aids in the drainage process
    • Cupping creates A systemic “flushing” of residue and waste materials (lactic acid, heat, old blood)


  • Lighter Cupping Applications  address superficial lymph layers where lymph filtration occurs with negative pressure.


These lymphatic valves can be challenged when lymph fluids are too thick for movement and result in edema. Cups with directional guidance have an impressive ability of moving these fluids along natural routes.

  • Quick Suction & Release (Flash Cupping) – mimics the natural, rhythmic opening of the flap valves along the routes
  • Slow Gentle Gliding– offers a soothing, wave-like motion along the same pathways.
  • Where You Move the Cup– Fluid will follow



Overall, Face Cupping is considered a safe treatment, but there is an important cautionary area that you need to be aware of. The Carotid Artery which supplies oxygenated blood to and from the brain travels right up the side of the neck.  You should NEVER perform Static or Stationary (Place a cup on and leave it) or Gliding/Moving Cupping down the side of the neck around this area as you could very easily occlude or block of this artery leading to potentially dangerous outcomes.  You will see on our face cupping instructions diagram below that we have “x”‘s down this part of the neckline.  The “X” represents areas where you should do flash cupping which is a quick suction and release so as not to occlude the artery.

You may be asking; “If this area is dangerous, why don’t we just avoid it?”  The short and basic answer is because you will be draining the stagnant lymph from you face and if you don’t drain it towards the lymph node at the base of the neck, it can collect in the area where you move it to and you may visibly see puffiness where the fluid collects and overloads the small nodes in these areas.



Face Cupping Drainage

  • Light Suction
  • Use Small Cups
  • Slow, Rhythmic, Repetitive Movements
  • After draining facial lymph, you will want to  drain down to the larger Supraclavicular Lymph Nodes as described before (Flash Cupping Only down neck)
  • Be Aware of and Follow Drainage Pathways on diagram below
  • You do not want to create Cupping Marks on the Face (Cupping Marks are when Stagnant Debris from within the tissue rises to settle just under the tissue. Somewhat resembles the appearance of a bruise or a “hickie”.)
    • Average Treatment Time 15-20 Minutes 
    • Self Care Face Cupping Performed in Shower is a favorite due to convenience.
    • Light Suction – 


  • Flash and Dynamic Only (Quick Suction and Release called Flash and Moving/Gliding called Dynamic) 
  • Proximal Node Areas Prior to Distal Areas (Start near Nodes of the Neck, progress up the neck and face to areas further away from the nodes of the neck.)
  • Follow Drainage Pathways
  • Flash Cupping ONLY on Anterior Neck due to Arteries ( You never want to occlude an artery. Arteries carry oxygenate blood to and from the heart and the rest of the body.)
  • Complete an entire side of face prior to moving to opposite side for proper drainage


  • Clean Face Prior to cupping. No Makeup



  • “X”’s represent Flash Cupping Only Areas for Safety (Arteries,Nodes and Delicate
  • Lines represent Gliding/Sliding
  • Arrows show direction of Glide/Slide


Note: You will start closest to the supraclavicular nodes and work your way to the forehead which is  farthest away from the supraclavicular. This is to ensure the drainage pathways are open. Refer to Drawing. You will move from lower areas of gravity to  higher areas of gravity, but you will never drain upwards, drain with gravity.


    1. Apply Lubricant- Oil, Lotion, Cream or Facial Cleanser
    2. Flash Cupping– Start at your clavicle bone  with 3-4 Light Suctions and Release to stimulate the supraclavicular node which is where you will drain to.
    3. Neck Pass Flash Cupping Only (Quick Suction and Release)  here due to Superficial Arteries. (Caution: Never occlude an artery)- Start below ear/jaw line  flash cup down the neck line towards the midline of chest to the clavicle bone and repeat 3 times. The Neck Pass is to drain lymph towards the node for filtering.
    4. Below ChinStart Under Chin following lines and arrows and drain towards jawline. Dynamic or Flash.  Perform “Neck Pass” after each Chin Pass. Perform 3 Chin Passes.
    5. Jawline- Under Lip-  Dynamic Pass from Chin to earlobe following lines and arrows. Detach and repeat 3 passes then perform “Neck Pass”
    6. Upper Lip- Start at Midline of upper lip following lines and arrows using flash cupping  to side of mouth and detach. Repeat 3 passes.
    7. Cheek – Start where you ended with Upper Lip. Dynamic  Pass towards ear following lines and arrows then detach. Return to starting point and repeat 3 times.  Start another pass ½ to 1 cup width above this and repeat until you have made this pass across the entire cheek area 3 times each.  Finish with “Neck Pass”
    8. Forehead– Start between eyebrows. Dynamic pass upwards to hairline. Detach cup and return to starting point. Repeat 3 passes. Now Dynamic Pass from Centerline forehead laterally toward hairline at the side of forehead.  Repeat each pass 3 times. Include all areas of this side of forehead with 3 passes for each area. When you have completed, then dynamic pass down the side of face along the earline and then finish with “Neck Pass”
    9. Under Eye- Very Small Tiny Cup. Flash Cupping Only. Start near nose just under lower eyelash. Do not stretch this area as it is delicate.  Very light suction and release here. Suction and Release towards outside of eye area toward hairline. Repeat 3 passes.
    10. Above Eye– Very Small Tiny Cup.  Flash Cupping Only. Start near the nose just under the eyebrow on the eyelid. Very light suction and release here. Suction and Release toward temporal area just past the eye line towards hairline. Repeat 3 Passes.


  • Eyebrow- Start over the eyebrow closest to the midline. Dynamic pass over eyebrow towards outer edge of eyebrow.  Detach and repeat 3 passes. Dynamic pass down earline followed with “Neck Pass”.



Self Facial Cupping is most commonly performed in the shower for convenience.  Start with 2-3 times a week for several weeks, then many decrease to 1 time a week for maintenance.