August 9, 2016
It's cool to see some of the advanced techniques we have been using featured and publicized throughout the media. I'm sure there will be a surge of other Massage and Physical Therapists trying to learn how to add this tool to their repertoire.
Consumers should understand there is a science and form of application which should be used to apply this technique to get the most benefit. We do several different kinds of cupping, use various size cups, and sometimes even incorporate a vacuum machine to assist with larger muscles groups (like the low back and hips). The vacuum pressure lifts the connective tissues away to soften tight muscles, decrease excessive muscle tension, loosen adhesions, bring hydration and blood flow to body tissues, move deep inflammation to the skin surface for release, and drain excess fluids and toxins by opening lymphatic pathways.
Not all forms of cupping leave the circular marks as seen in the above picture. The marks are caused as the vacuum pressure draws up the old non-circulating stagnant blood, cellular debris, and other pathogenic factors found in injured or strained area. By bringing them up to the surface and away from the injured or strained tissue, healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area. It's know to cleanse the area creating space for oxygen, living cells and nutrients for faster recovery.
The marks indicate that stagnation has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface for the body to get rid. The darker the marks the more stagnation and toxins were stirred up and brought to the surface. If the tissue is fairly healthy, the less coloring the marks will leave on the skin after treatment. It's a great technique used both in rehab and performance, and offers both diagnostic and therapeutic benefits.
For the most part, the technique is painless and does not hurt, and just like other forms of soft tissue work, it can be applied at varying pressures and intensities.