In short, myofascial cupping provides a sustained stretch to your fascia and it elongates the muscle fibers. One may feel immediate relief after having cupping therapy, but for the population with chronic pain, myofascial cupping is a treatment that needs to be done regularly in order to maintain a pain-free lifestyle. Imagine your muscles and fascia are rubber bands – if minimal stretching is done, they revert back to its tight position. But if they are stretched frequently, this is when you will see lasting changes: your fascia will feel soft and flexible, allowing you to go through the full range of motion in your body.
Coming in for a treatment also soothes the nervous system, taking it into the rest and digest mode: only if you’re breathing deeply and mindfully and not tensing throughout the session!
Myofascial cupping involves creating a suction to pull the skin and its underlying tissues upwards. It provides a gentle sustained stretch for loosening tight muscles and connective tissue adhesions (this is what we usually refer to as ‘knots’).
Three common types you will see in a clinic setting:
- Glass cups used in traditional flame cupping
- Silicone cups with suction applied by hand; and
- Plastic cups with suction applied with a hand pump.
ALL THREE produce the same effect of increase in local blood flow and stretching underlying tissues.
Therapists will apply these cups in two different ways:
- Stationary cupping: application of a cup on the skin with suction.
- Moving cupping: lubricant is used on the skin and once the cups are applied, they slide along the skin.