Cupping has been used for centuries in the practice of Oriental Medicine (or Traditional Chinese Medicine) in order to treat all types of diseases. However, it has gained more popularity recently in the use of professional athletes in order to treat muscle stiffness, soreness, and to help speed up recovery after practice or competition. In the medical community, cupping is more widely accepted as a therapy tool in order to treat many types of neuro-musculoskeletal impairments causing pain. These impairments include muscle soreness, muscle spasms, decreased flexibility, and reduced blood flow. There are many mechanisms by which cupping works. First, the negative pressure inside the cups leads to an increase in blood flow in the tissues underneath the cups, increasing the amount of inflammatory factors which are responsible for healing and repair. The cups also create a 'stretching' or 'tension' moment through the fascia underneath. Thanks to plenty of research from Helene Langevin, a Medical Doctor from Harvard, we know that any tensile force created within the fascia leads to increased fibroblast activity. Fibroblasts are responsible for connective tissue healing, remodeling, and repair and can initiate the inflammatory response needed to stimulate healing. These changes also initiate the release of endogenous anandamide, which is a self-producing opioid, and thus, reduces pain.
There are many different types of cupping, including static cupping, dynamic cupping, cupping for eural tension, cupping for improved scar tissue mobility, and cupping with movement.
Cupping can be very valuable in the treatment of many conditions including headaches, low back pain, neck pain, compartment syndrome, plantar fasciitis, shoulder impingement, and many more, or can be included in therapeutic massage for relaxation and improved mobility. Mild discoloration of the skin is normal, though usually not severe, and typically fades within a few hours to few days.
Cupping is performed by both our Doctor of Physical Therapy and Licensed Massage Therapist. If you are interested in trying cupping or have any more questions, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.