While the popularity of cupping has significantly increased in the past recent years, it isn’t a new practice. In fact, it was originally used by the ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cultures. It is an ancient form of alternative medicine that is performed by placing cups on the skin, in order to create suction.
Today, it is used as a way to relieve pain, promote relaxation, enhance blood flow, and ease inflammation. To find out more about how cupping may benefit you, request an appointment at ProTailored Physical Therapy today.
I’m not so sure about cupping – does it really work?
While there are some apprehensions toward cupping, there is real science behind it. The suction within the cups creates negative pressure, which helps to increase hydration and blood flow to body tissues, ease up adhesions, and eliminate excess fluids. It is a versatile treatment that can be modified for your condition, whether you are in need of deep tissue massage or lymphatic drainage.
It is important to note that cupping is not a treatment method that will be performed on skin with wounds, infection, burns, or active inflammation. It can sometimes create bruises on the skin that can last up to two weeks. Bruises typically resolve themselves with time and should not be of concern.
Why should I choose cupping therapy?
Cupping can sometimes be described as a “tissue distraction release” technique. During the cupping process, the cups are glided across different areas of the body in order to lift and separate tissue. This works to enhance the release of the interfaces between the neural tissues, fascia, skin, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It relaxes muscles, releases trigger points, improves lymphatic flow, increases local circulation, and releases scar tissue adhesion. Evidence supports cupping as an effective treatment method for several conditions, such as chronic neck pain, low back pain, and fibromyalgia.
There are three forms of cupping techniques: longitudinal, cross fiber, and circular. The most common form is longitudinal, where the cup is glided longitudinally across the muscle fibers. Cross fiber is used when it is believed that the tissue is scarred. Circular is typically used at the end of the session, in order to ensure that all areas were covered.
It is no secret that cupping is a common and popular practice among athletes. In fact, several athletes from the 2016 Rio Olympics used cupping. A running patient with over a year history of iliotibial band (ITB) pain reported instant relief following a three-minute session of cupping. The technique was repeated a week later. Following only two cupping sessions, he was symptom-free and returned to his usual running routine.
What can I expect from a cupping session?
Cupping is a unique process. Our Fort Wayne, IN physical therapist will begin by placing a cup on your tissue and use a rubber pump to create a vacuum, which causes the skin to rise and blood vessels to expand. In a lot of scenarios, the positive results are immediate!
Common Questions Regarding Cupping
What does Cupping feel like?
Clinicians may use static or dynamic cupping techniques during treatment. You will feel anything from light to deep pressure/pinch. Some areas of the body may be more tender or sore than others. The body may get used to the stimulus, and some patients report a decrease in pressure within a few minutes of the treatment.
What will I feel like after I’ve had Cupping done?
It is common for the area that has been cupped to feel a little warm or sore after cupping. This is because the process of cupping increases blood flow to the area to promote healing. Some muscle tenderness is common the day after cupping – and in days following that, patients may report a reduction in pain and stiffness.
What tools are used for Cupping?
At our clinic, we use both plastic cups and rockpods. Rock pods are a silicone cup that are more conformable to certain body parts. Our plastic cups are used along with a rubber pump to create the suction force. Traditional cups are made of glass and would use a match and flame underneath the cup to create the suction force.
Where all can Cupping be performed?
Cupping can be performed on any skeletal muscle tissue.
Fun fact: At ProTailored Physical Therapy, we commonly cup the upper trapezius (muscles at the base of the neck, top of the shoulder). This is done to relieve tension throughout the muscle that is often responsible for trigger points and tightness that can affect cervical motion or cause headaches. We have great success with this!
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a small area of shortened or tight muscular fibers located within a muscle.
Why do I have trigger points?
Trigger points can develop secondary to trauma or overuse.
Fun fact: The upper trapezius (shoulder musculature) commonly holds many trigger points as people commonly tense the shoulders with stress/anxiety.
What is scar tissue?
Scar tissue is made in the body after an injury occurs. It is a group of cells and collagen that has been produced to replace the injured cells. Scar tissue is different from other tissues as it has less elasticity. This may lead to decreased motion or increases in pain in some motions.
Why do I have scar tissue?
Scar tissue will occur after surgery or a traumatic injury. However, scar tissue may form in the body with injuries that are less traumatic and that you may not even feel, like overuse. injuries.
How can I add cupping to my physical therapy sessions?
There are several benefits to cupping. It can boost your skin health, help with respiratory issues, and even improve digestion. It is also used to speed up the recovery time of certain injuries and ailments, in addition to reducing symptoms.
If you are in Fort Wayne, IN, and have an injury or health condition that is limiting you from living your life the way you want, start with requesting an appointment with ProTailored Physical Therapy. You will meet with one of our licensed Fort Wayne, IN physical therapists to figure out if cupping is right for you!