Myofascial cupping is a modern adaptation of the ancient Chinese art of cupping therapy. By creating a suction or vacuum, cupping therapy is used to release rigid soft tissue, drain excess fluids and toxins, loosen adhesions, and lift connective tissue, while bringing blood flow to stagnant skin and muscles. Cupping has a sedating effect on the nervous system, and many people find it profoundly relaxing. Massage cupping is a gentle, non-invasive way to soften muscle tissue so that more specific massage techniques can be comfortably applied. Cupping is generally not painful. Some people who suffer from chronic muscle disorders may feel minimal discomfort and should mention it immediately so adjustments can be made. Many people report that muscle tension and tenderness continues to improve many hours after the session is completed.
Cupping Massage Treatments and ‘Sha’ (Circular Bruising)
Cupping massage has a very similar effect on the muscles as a deep tissue massage. The pulling force of the suction places a specific stretch on the muscle, and when massaged with a cup, elongates the muscles and breaks down adhesions in the tissue. In areas of tissue dysfunction, this technique may occasionally leave a temporary mark, called “sha“. Sha resembles a bruise, but is not painful. Traditional Chinese medicine regards the appearance of sha as an indication that toxins and stagnation are being pulled to the surface of the body, restoring healthy qi and blood flow. Sha marks usually last 3-7 days, or more if a client is sick, sedentary, under severe stress, or has had a severe trauma in the area. Over a series of treatments, the marks will lighten and disappear faster as stagnation in the area clears.
Why Myofascial Cupping?
Cupping is particularly useful for those patients who find their muscles constantly tight/tense and find it very difficult to obtain any release or long term results. Cupping has been known to treat headaches, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injury, low back pain, sciatica, pulled groin, knee pain, patella femoral syndrome, restless leg syndrome, torticollis, and trigger point pain. It can also release tension in the IT bands, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
Overall, myofascial cupping is designed to…
- Stimulate the lymphatic system
- Increase blood flow to the muscles and skin
- Loosen adhesions in the myofascial tissue and muscle tissue. (The increase in circulation to the tissue allows for faster elimination of pain causing substances.)
- When treating specific health conditions, 30 minutes per week for 4 weeks is often recommended. If more treatments are required, 30 minutes every two weeks or 30 minutes on a monthly frequency are recommended.
- From a proactive standpoint, alternating between myofascial cupping and therapeutic treatments on a monthly frequency is highly recommended.
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