What is Myofascial Cupping?

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Myofascial Cupping’ or ‘Cupping’ is a therapy in which a plastic cup is applied to the skin then the pressure in the cup is reduced by suction in order to draw and hold skin and superficial muscle tissue/fascia inside the cup. Cupping is applied to certain parts of the body that have been affected by pain or muscle/fascia tightness. The cupping process draws blood from your vessels and into your tissue. This starts a positive inflammatory response.

Chiropractors may sometimes use cupping as a technique of tissue distraction release. The cups are either left stationary or glided across different areas to lift and separate tissue. It enhances the release of the interfaces between the neural tissues, fascia, skin, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Some patients with myofascial pain report resolution of pain after just one session. There is also some evidence to suggest that cupping techniques are effective for chronic neck pain, low back pain and fibromyalgia. It has also been shown to relax muscles, release trigger points, improve lymphatic flow, increase local circulation and release scar tissue adhesion.

Cupping should not be performed on skin sites with wounds, infection, burns or active inflammation. Sometimes, it can create bruises on the skin that can last up to two weeks. Bruises typically resolve themselves with time.

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The Process

The cups are placed on the skin in areas of tender/tight muscles or trigger points, then either moved along muscles to release the underlying fascia. Cups are generally left in place for five to ten minutes. The skin will normally redden due to increased blood flow. The cup is removed from the skin once treatment is complete. Some bruising from the cup is to be expected. This is a normal and typically isn’t painful.

Conditions Cupping Can Assist With:

  • Plantar fascia or plantar foot pain
  • Stiffness or tightness in any muscular areas
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Chronic pain
  • Post-surgical scar tissue