Cupping is the use of glass or silicone cups with a manual pump to create a negative pressure on the skin and underlying tissue. This negative pressure allows for the lifting of the layers of skin to improve connective tissue mobility and blood flow. The skin is comprised of several layers covering the underlying fascia and muscles. These layers should move fluidly together to achieve optimal function.
Following injury or inflammation these layers become less mobile leading to pain and dysfunction. Cupping creates a decompressive/lifting force on the target tissue which is the opposite of compressive manual therapies such as massage. Decompressing the tissues can aid in pain relief through releasing tight tissues and trigger points, improving blood flow and nutrient exchange.
Cupping therapy can be performed with or without movement, using passive movements guided by your therapist or a patient’s active movement to improve tissue mobility and range of motion.
Conditions that can be treated with cupping:
Cupping is a useful tool but is most effective within a comprehensive physical therapy regimen. Your Physical Therapist will use manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, manipulation, and other modalities to maximize the benefits of cupping during your treatment.