Cup Therapy

At Megan Mullin Physical Therapy we provide a range of services to help you improve your physical health and well-being. One of the techniques we use is cup therapy, which is becoming increasingly popular among our clients. 

What is Cup Therapy?

Cup therapy, also known as vacuum therapy or Myofascial Decompression (MFD), is a novel approach to manual therapy and exercise that combines negative pressure technology with evidence-based movement science principles in orthopedics and sports medicine. 

“Cupping” is an ancient form of alternative medicine that uses suction cups to stimulate blood flow and promote healing. The cups are typically made of glass, plastic, or silicone. The suction created by the cups pulls the skin and muscles upward, which helps to release tension and increase circulation. Overall cup therapy is a pain-free treatment used to treat a variety of conditions.

Benefits of Cup Therapy

Cup therapy can offer a range of benefits to those who receive it. Here are some of the most significant benefits:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved circulation
  • Relaxation
  • Improved range of motion

Additionally, cupping can help stimulate the lymphatic system, which can help remove toxins from the body.

This method of treatment is a good option for athletes including cyclists, body builders, surfers, runners, swimmers, climbers, golfers, and contact sport/throwing athletes. Cupping is excellent for treating:

  • IT band syndrome
  • Runner’s heel
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased range of motion and poor flexibility
  • Scar tissue 
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Trigger finger
  • Total knee replacement

How Cup Therapy Works

During a cup therapy session, the therapist strategically places the cups on the client’s skin. They will often target areas with tension, pain, or congestion. Cup application may vary. One common method is vacuum pumps that draw the air out of the cup, creating a vacuum effect that suctions the skin into the cup. Alternatively, heat can be briefly introduced into the cup to create a partial vacuum by cooling the air inside, which then contracts and forms suction against the skin.

The duration for which the cups are in place depends on the individual’s condition and response to treatment, typically ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. As the cups remain in position, they gently draw the skin and upper muscle layers upwards, promoting blood flow to the area. This increased blood flow reduces inflammation and encourages the body’s natural healing.

Post-Cup Therapy Massage

After cups removal, the therapist may use massage techniques to further enhance the treatment’s effects. By combining cupping with massage, therapists can help relax muscle tension and improve drainage. As a result, this dual approach can boost the overall therapeutic outcome of the session.

Individual experiences with cup therapy can vary. Some clients report immediate relief from muscle pain, improved range of motion, and a sense of relaxation. However, others may experience temporary skin discoloration or mild discomfort, which is often due to the increased blood flow and release of fluids trapped within the muscle tissue. Overall these effects tend to fade within a few days, leaving behind a sense of improved well-being.

Is Cup Therapy Right for You?

If you’re intrigued by the potential benefits of cup therapy, consult with our professional physical therapists. A personalized consultation will allow the therapist to assess your unique health needs and tailor a treatment plan that aligns with your goals. Whether you’re seeking pain relief, enhanced circulation, or overall stress reduction, cup therapy could be a valuable addition to your wellness journey, guided by experienced practitioners dedicated to improving your health and quality of life.