Therapeutic Cupping became very popular after the 2016 Olympics in Rio when numerous athletes were seen with circular markings on their bodies, but it is not anything new. It was used by the ancient Middle Eastern, Chinese and Egyptian cultures.
Physical therapists use cupping as a therapy tool to stretching tissue and release tension. The cups are glided across different areas to lift and separate tissue releasing of the tension interfaces between the neural tissues, fascia, skin, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The sliding cups technique is traditionally performed on large muscle groups of the back to treat pain and muscle spasms. Massage oil is applied to the skin prior to the cups being placed, which allows the cups to glide easily over the surface of the skin in some cases. Some patients with myofascial pain report resolution of pain after just one session others may require more. Cupping stimulates tissue relaxation and better cell-to-cell communication. The benefits of cupping include local pain relief and muscle tissue relaxation.
Cupping techniques can be effective for:
• Chronic neck pain
• Low back pain
• Muscular restrictions & release trigger points
• Improve lymphatic flow decreasing edema
• Increase local circulation
• Reduction of Scar tissue adhesion.
Cupping frequently causes marks on the skin. This is due to bringing blood to the surface, similar to a bruise. The marks from cupping can last for a few days up to two weeks. For patients with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia or who are being treated with anticoagulants(blood thinners), cupping may not be the best treatment option.