Cupping is an ancient form of holistic alternative medicine. It is a treatment method that was initially used to help treat internal diseases and structural problems. Its popularity over the years has increased as people have seen celebrities and athletes “sporting” the common circular bruising pattern that occurs after a cupping session.
It can be used for pain relief, musculoskeletal injuries, strains, sprains and back injuries.
A glass or plastic cup is placed on the skin in areas of restriction or soreness. The air from the cup is expelled via burning or suction. Expelling the air inside the cup creates a negative pressure which anchors the cup to the area being treated. The suction encourages blood flow to the area, and an increase in circulation may promote healing and decrease pain.
While there are different ways to perform cupping, the technique I have found to be beneficial for my patients is myofascial dynamic cupping or sliding cupping. Before cupping is started a layer of oil or cream is placed over the cupping sites. The cup is then pulled and pushed along areas that have a broad area, smooth skin and large muscle groups such as the back, buttocks, thighs and other areas.
Myofascial dynamic cupping lifts the skin, fascia and muscle apart causing a decompression and increased space for tissue mobility. It can break down small adhesions. It can target tissues and improve gliding to help improve tissue mobility and range of motion. This technique can work well on lumbar/thoracic paraspinals, quadriceps, hamstrings, Iiliotibial band, and gastrocnemius musculature.
This type of treatment has been around for thousands of years. While opinions can vary on its efficacy some of the key take aways are it’s safe to try and can be complimentary to an existing treatment plan such as trigger point dry needling.
-release scar tissue and fascial adhesions
-reduce painful trigger points
-improve blood and lymph circulation
-promote mobility and range of motion
-decrease toxins by drawing impurities to the surface
Side effects- bruising skin, irritation
-acute injury with bruising
-inflamed or swollen areas
-complete tears of ligaments or tendons
If you’re interested in cupping treatment for your sore muscles, our licensed massage therapists are ready to help!