What Does Cupping Do?

The suction from the cups allows us to gather and separate deeper tissues and underlying fascia to free restrictions and adhesions, allowing for greater mobility of the muscles and less joint compression.

What Are The Effects of Cupping?

Immediate improvement in the sensation of muscle tightness and range of motion of the associated joint/s. The more sessions that are performed, paired with the right exercises, create longer-lasting benefits.

Who is Cupping for?

Cupping is indicated for people who seem to have chronic muscle tension associated with joint stiffness, that has not been relieved with more traditional massage techniques.

What is Cupping?

Cupping originated from ancient Chinese practice, used to relieve myofascial tension and adhesions. Fascia is the rigid connective tissue that separates muscle and skin and allows the fibers to glide. Sometimes, the fascia can limit the mobility of muscles, causing tightness and discomfort.

What to Expect: Feels Like, Appears, Appropriate Clothing

Once the cup is placed on the skin and the suction is applied, static cup on static tissues, the patient will feel a gathering sensation of their skin and soft tissue below the cup. If the patient is performing a dynamic movement with the static cup on their tissues, the movement will feel tighter than normal and possibly unable to reach full ROM. If you are performing dynamic cupping over static tissues, the patient will feel a tight, pulling, or tugging sensation as the cup moves over the soft tissue, this can be quite tender.

Precautions/ Contraindication

Set Up

  • Hand towels, lotion, cupping set with different size cups and pneumatic pump, enough room for the patient to move if performing static cups on the dynamic patient.
  • Depending on the area you are targeting, the patient can be supine, prone, side-lying, sitting, or standing.

Cupping Process

  • Set patient up in preferred position for the specific body part being treated.
  • Apply cup on the tip of pneumatic pump
  • Place the open end of the cup on the desired area, and apply desired pump amount to get the cup to suction onto the body.
    ~ 1-1½ pumps for the static cup on the static patient or static cup on a dynamic patient
    ~½-1 pump for the dynamic cup on the static patient or dynamic cup on a dynamic patient
  • When sliding the cup across the patient’s tissue, gently lift and slide across a well-lotioned surface. Not enough lubrication will result in ineffective sliding and discomfort to the patient.
  • To remove cups pull on the blue piece at the tip of the cup to release the negative pressure and remove the cup from the skin gently
  • Always progress from Static cup on the static patient to static cup on the dynamic patient to dynamic cup on the static patient, and lastly dynamic cup on a dynamic patient
    - Progression through all phases is not required for effective treatment
    -Assess patient’s tolerance and tissue tolerance in each phase before attempting progression to the next phase
  • Pre/post testing: Perform a quick test pertaining to the affected area, i.e. shoulder AROM for shoulder tightness/pain, before performing the cupping, and immediately post cupping to assess the effectiveness of tx.

Reiterate What to Expect After tx

  • There is always a chance of bruising when negative pressure is used on the body’s soft tissues.
  • The patient may see circular bruising where static cups are applied, and there may be erythema where dynamic cupping was performed.
  • The tight sensation the patient feels when cups are applied should only last while cupping is being performed, and should dissipate after cups are removed.
  • Drink plenty of water to help rehydrate the tissues and assist with the subsequent bruising.
  • The patient may notice greater bruising of more proximal body parts compared to distal extremities. The upper back, proximal shoulder, and neck are usually the most susceptible to bruising.
  • The patient should not experience pain after cupping, but there may be a slight soreness to the soft tissue where cupping was performed.
  • Ideally, the patient feels less restricted in the tissues where cupping was performed and has improved AROM in the joints associated with those issues.

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