Cupping has been around for a long time and has proven helpful for many people, but what the heck does it do? Here @physiohauslondon, our Massage Therapist @owengirouxrmt utilizes this technique to decompress tissues that are stuck, tight, and sore.

Areas of the body that are under a lot of tension or which have many layers to them can get stiff, and while direct massage or stretching can be immensely helpful, sometimes lifting the tissue makes a little more magic happen. That’s what we do with cups – we provide a brief, novel, 3-dimensional lifting stimulus to the tissue where the body often responds by relaxing the underlying structures into the new-found space. Cups usually rest on the skin for a few short moments.

Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, was famously seen covered in circular bruises from the technique. Now while it most definitely gave him the gold, it can work for you, too. It can help with:

Tendinosis

Bursitis

Nerve compressions

Muscle tension

Headaches

and any condition where muscles and fascia need to chill out a bit.


But does it hurt? How long do the bruises last?

Great questions – cupping feels like a very local stretch, but it shouldn’t hurt, and we can moderate intensity. The bruising happens from blood flow already in the area is pulled to the surface, but it doesn’t hurt like a regular bruise from banging your leg on the table. That’s a compression injury vs a fascial lifting blemish. Both, however, heal along the same timeline, which is very subjective to your body. A few days to a week should do the trick, though.

MYTHS!

Cupping does not increase circulation! (to any dramatic or clinically significant amount)

Cupping is not a miracle cure! It is just another tool in the toolbox, not an idol for a pedestal.

Cupping should not break the skin or cause severe bruising or pain! A little goes a long way.

As always, discuss your care openly with your therapists and we hope to see you soon!