Cupping uses suction cups to lift the skin and the underlying muscle tissue. This inverse pressure gives the muscle another way to release the tension it has been holding onto. Cupping will raise stagnations to the surface of the skin. Stagnations are old blood and lymph that has been caught in the muscle tissue that is keeping it in that tight and contracted state.
Gua Sha stands for dermal friction and will also raise stagnations up to the surface of the skin, but through friction instead of suction. This technique has been used for hundreds of years in Chinese Medicine to remove any blockages in the flow of blood.
You want blood to have a certain consistency and to flow through your body with ease. When muscles are tense, the blood flow is restricted. When old blood and lymph gets caught in the muscle a blockage will happen and limit further blood flow to the area.
Both cupping and gua sha and excellent at encouraging blood flow and raising stagnations out of the muscle cells. Most people will notice an immediate reduction in muscle tension after one session. I have seen amazing, long lasting results with many clients using these techniques.