Blog written by Tim Grigg FA Dip, LSSM Dip, MSTA
There are two forms of Myofascial cupping ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. I practice dry cupping which involves applying a plastic cup to the skin and drawing the air out of the cup with a hand held pump (see picture left). On the market you can also purchase glass cups where you use a flame to burn the air out of the cup and cause a vacuum. Personally I prefer the hand held vacuum pump for its speed of application and control at how much pressure I need to achieve with accuracy.
Cups can be applied from anything from a few seconds to longer duration's of 5
minutes plus, experience and knowing your client are variable factors at how long you decide to leave the cups in place. Wet cupping involves applying cups for a short period of time, removing them to lightly cut the skin where the cup has been then re-apply the cup drawing the stagnated blood / toxic fluid out of the body.
BENEFITS OF CUPPING
- Increased Circulation
- Increase joint range of motion
- Reduced muscle tension
- Increase lymphatic drainage
- Increase connective tissue mobility
I use cupping everyday when treating clients, but I must add its not suited to everyone and you need to apply it in the correct manner to get positive results. Its a powerful treatment modality in the wrong hands and we've all seen the horror pictures of excessive bruising.
In clinic I use it in many different ways from warming tissues up by dragging the cup over with light suction to the area to be worked to draw blood to the surface, I even use it in conjunction with STR (soft tissue release) by applying a cup and moving a body part actively or passively, and also its great for clients who are apprehensive over acupuncture as you can place cups on acupuncture points and achieve very similar results. My preferred method is to try and actively get my clients to move with the cups on the skin to generate greater fascial release, I must add the client is fully in charge of the range of motion tolerated during this application.
The main aim for myself when using cups is to stretch and mobilise superficial fascia around the target area the cups are placed. Not every client wants or needs trigger points compressed and massaged ‘out’ so applying a cup to a localised trigger point offers a great alternative. I find it especially good with people who present with over stressed tissues and subtlety is needed to get a positive response. Once i’m happy that i’ve achieved my desired goal with the cups I simply remove them by breaking the seal between the skin and cup to release the vacuum. This often leaves a slight indentation where the outer rim of the cup has been pressing on the skin, I will then lightly perform some effleurage to flush some blood flow over the cup sites and in-between where the cups where spaced out.
Post treatment some bruising can develop, the longer duration applications the more probable bruising will occur. This bruising is perfectly normal and should dissipate anything from a few days to a week. As always I advise proper hydration post treatment and if my clients feels tired afterwards, try and have a power nap to help with facilitation of recovery.
I hope you have enjoyed this guest blog.