by Liesl van Jaarsveldt
Myofascial Cupping, as used today by manual therapists, originates from an ancient Chinese practice in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure is reduced inside the cup so that the superficial skin and muscle layer is drawn up into the cup.
The Myofascial Cupping currently used in therapeutic settings differs from traditional cupping in that marking the skin is not part of the desired treatment outcome. By utilizing a suction pump attached to plastic cups or pliable silicone cups, a negative tension pressure is created that lifts and separates soft tissue. While giving a gentle passive stretch to underlying soft tissue it increases blood supply to it which leads to a flushing of nutrients through the area and a removal of a buildup of metabolic waste. By attaching a suctioning pump, or using clear silicone cups, the level of suction can be controlled and the colour of underlying tissue can be monitored, thus avoiding some hazards like overly marking or overheating the skin as when using fire.
Benefits of Myofascial Cupping include assisting with range of motion maintenance, eliminating trigger points and painful adhesions that may arise from repetitive movements in sport or the workplace. By encouraging optimal hydration levels of soft tissue, cupping can assist with reducing the occurrence of injuries and maintaining function.
The benefits of applying Myofascial Cupping to scar tissue is also noticeable especially after surgeries once wound healing has occurred. Many abdominal and thoracic surgeries leave restrictive scar tissue in the fascia underlying the visible scar which can inhibit movement and lead to abnormal patterns and resulting pain. Our therapists have had significantly positive treatment outcomes in using cupping in instances where scarring has restricted movements in our patients.
Myofascial Cupping can easily and seamlessly be incorporated into the Massage Therapy treatment or used as its own modality depending on your preference and specific goals. A cream or lotion is applied to allow easy movement of the cups along the skin. Cupping is often combined with passive or active movement while stationary, or while gliding across or along the tissue. When gliding over soft tissue it also causes compression with the rim of the cup. This can be done in line with the muscle fibres or across the grain, similar to some massage strokes.
Ask your Massage Therapist if you would like to have Myofascial Cupping included in your treatment.
Registered Massage Therapists at the Active Life Centre who are certified in Myofascial Cupping:
Liesl van Jaarsveldt