Myofascial Cupping Therapy

Myofascial Cupping  has been used for many centuries in Eastern and western countries. It has recently become more popular among althletes like swimmers and gymnasts etc. You may have seen those red or purple circles commonly seen on the back or shoulder regions. It is being used for relief of lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee osteoarthritis, increase pressure pain thresholds and to even help improve athletes performance when competing.

Myofascial Cupping creates a negative pressure, which is where the body’s tissue is pulled upwards instead of being pressed down like in usual massages which is a positive pressure. This causes dilation and capillary rupture, this is what causesthe reddish/purple marks and circles on the skin. This is called ecchymosis or bruising, which is seen to be a lasting and therapeutically beneficial. It is a soft tissue tissue treatment where I use silicone suction cups that creates a vacuum effect, lifting up the underlying tissues, fascia (connective tissue), muscles, blood and other body fluid, close to the surface of the skin. Myofascial cupping works by altering pain thresholds, stimulating inhibtory neural pathways and increasing blood circulation. It’s been shown in scientific research studies in effectively reducing chronic pain which in turn improves the clients quality of life and mental well-being.

During your massage, I use massage techniques to apply the massage oil or CBD massage wax and locate any muscular restrictions and tension, once they have been located, I apply the cups by moving them, gliding them over the surface of your skin or where I feel the fascial adhesion and trigger points are. I may leave the cups static in specific areas where I feel they are required for a short period of time. This is a very effective treatment even if the cups aren’t left in place for very long.

Chinese medicine had cups made from bamboo, bronze or even pottery. Glass cups were then developed in the 20th century. They decompressed the glass cups using fire to heat up the air within them prior to applying them. Some therapists today still use this method known as fire cupping. I opted for the silicone cupping as I felt it was safer and no risk of burning anyone! I simply squeeze the cup then place it on your skin creating the vacuum, I feel i have more control over how much vacuum I can create for you.

Benefits of Myofascial Cupping

  • Passively stretch soft tissues
  • Increases tissues temperature
  • Reduces, tension and adhesions in the tissue
  • Drains lymph and cellular debris
  • Increases your range of motion in your joints and soft tissue
  • Moves metabolic waste to enable normal lymphatic flow, promoting healthy circulation, which in turn promtes a healthy immune system.
  • Prevents or reduces the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) alligning the collagen.
  • Assists the reduction of localised oedema (swelling) and inflammation to aid recovery.
  • Softens tight muscles by separating the layers of connective tissue bringing hydration and blood flow to the area.
  • Reduction in sympathetic nerve response and increased parasympathetic nerve response.

Contraindications (reasons to avoid, or proceed with caution)

  • Infectious disease
  • Herniated or bulging disc
  • Acute musculoskeletal injury
  • Low blood pressure or other acute circulatory disorder – diabetes and medicated for blood thinning.
  • Cold or flu symptoms
  • Healing fracture
  • High fever
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Malignant tumours
  • Acute rheumatoid arthritus
  • Hypersensitve skin
  • Aneurysm
  • Heamatoma
  • Acute disease
Please note it is normal for your skin to become red/purple and appear bruised. It may be slightly tender to the areas, but not painful. These marks on your skin may last up to 26 days. This is normal for this kind of treatment.

You can see below here a client of mine having Myofascial Cupping to his back. He had been suffering for a number of weeks with Migraines at the base of his head. He had a combination of sports massage and cupping, focusing mainly on his upper back and neck to help take the pressure off, relieving him of his headaches without relying on strong pain medication from his GP.