Cupping therapy (Myofascial Decompression) has been commonly used to treat pain. It is a therapy that helps treat musculoskeletal disorders by using suction to create a negative pressure underneath the cup. A simple pump is used to create a negative pressure that helps to decompress the area by lifting the skin and the layer of tissue underneath the skin, the fascia, up into the cup. This creates space for the underlying tight muscle to lay down and relax and is meant to encourage blood flow and encorage healing. The act of bringing more blood to an affected area is to promote cell activity and flush out prostaglandins (pain causing compound). It has been shown in research to be effective in acute and chronic pain management since it encourages local release of endorphins causing an analgesic effect.
At Sutton Place Physical and Aquatic Therapy, cupping combined with therapeutic exercises, tailored by your Physical Therapist, can provide for long-term relief of pain. Cupping is performed to treat musculoskeletal disorders and to correct movement patterns that may cause pain or tightness. It is used to address any myofascial or soft tissue dysfunction or restriction, break up scar tissue adhesions, reduce scar tissue formation, increase blood flow to healing areas and to release trigger points.
During myofascial decompression your physical therapist will most likely have you sit or lie down depending on the area being treated. Sometimes people experience a “pinching” when the cups are first placed on the body. Most describe this as a strong pressure. The pressure can always be adjusted . Lotion may be used underneath the cups to facilitate smooth movement and minimize any discomfort.
After treatment, you may have some bruising on your skin. The color of these bruises range from light pink to purple. The bruising depends on how tight the underlying tissue is and how long the cups are left on the skin. You also may feel some soreness which can last up to 24 hours or more .
Cupping should not be conducted over any open wound, active cancer, swollen areas, previous bruises or immediately post surgery.
Let your physical therapist know if you have any of the following conditions beforehand as precautionary measure may take place:
- Cardiac conditions/High blood pressure
- Sensitive skin
- Current blood clot or history of blood clots
- Currently taking blood thinner medication
Indications: muscle pain, spasms, chronic pain, tightness in muscles, limited range