Underneath the skin, our bodies are covered in a net of connective tissue known as “fascia.” Fascia touches every portion of the body, covering muscles and internal organs, lying in between every layer and uniting the body together, similar to the connective tissue we find in an orange when we open it up. Fascia is the connective tissue underneath the skin that encases muscles and organs.
Fascia has many different functions. It acts as a support, providing structure and organization. It acts as an information pathway, distributing tension and absorbing load transferred from tissue to tissue. And it provides flexibility between structures, giving muscles and joints mobility by reducing friction between layers.
Movement is essential to life. It is both the reason for health and the key to health. For healthy movement to occur, these layers of connective tissue need to be able to slide freely. When fascia becomes too stiff or dry due to factors such as dehydration or chronic inflammation, the space between the fascia and the muscles begins to tighten, the lubricating fluid between the tissues decreases, and the resulting increase of friction can produce restriction and pain.
Cupping (also known as myofascial decompression) uses suction cups to pull the skin and superficial tissues upward allowing more space for the restricted muscles and fascia. In doing so, cupping decreases the friction between the underlying tissues. In addition, the region underneath the cups receives an increase of blood flow, which helps to rehydrate the tissue and creates a healing response from the cells in the area.
Modern cupping was initially a popular tool for elite athletes, such as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and it has started to gain recognition as a powerful modality for reducing pain and increasing range of motion quickly.
At Premiere Spine and Sport, cupping is a normal treatment method for many conditions such as:
- Back pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Headache or migraine
- Knee pain
- Muscle strain or soreness
- Decreased range of motion
Our patients typically see benefits of decreased pain and increased range of motion in the first visit. Cupping is a valuable tool that can help break the cycle of pain and allow your body to move better, faster.
“The Medical Perspective of Cupping Therapy: Effects and Mechanisms of Action.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine , Elsevier, 30 Apr. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411018300191.Bridgett, Rhianna, et al. “Effects of Cupping Therapy in Amateur and Professional Athletes: Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.) , U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29185802.