Has your friend or partner come back from physiotherapy or massage therapy looking like they got attacked by an octopus? Not to worry, you shouldn’t be concerned about your friend/partner’s therapeutic relationship with their treating therapist, you should be asking yourself – is cupping something I could benefit from too?
If you haven’t heard about cupping, you can think of it as the opposite of massage or compression. Instead of pushing the structures across each other, as in massage, cupping pulls the tight structures apart allowing blood to flow between the layers.Over top of all of our muscles, there is a layer of connective tissue called fascia.
When muscles get tight part of the contributing problem could be myo(muscle)-fascial(connective tissue) restriction. In other words, the connective tissue overlaying the muscle has gotten stuck down to the muscle itself. Cupping works by helping to pull the fascia away from the muscle, allowing better movement between the two structures.
There is one catch! Because we are pulling blood into the area, bruising occurs. This bruising is simply broken blood vessels and because of this, the bruises you may sustain from cupping don’t hurt the way a regular bruise would. Most patient notice an immediate improvement in muscle tension and the associated pain in one session!
If you have tight muscles or trigger points (those knots of muscle you can feel) ask your physiotherapist or massage therapist if cupping is right for you! You may just have to explain your bruises to your friend/family for the next couple of days.