Cup Therapy

A modern approach to ancient techniques

We harness the ancient healing art of cup therapy to enhance your wellness journey. Cupping, has been practiced for centuries and is renowned for its ability to promote healing, alleviate pain, and improve overall well-being. Our experienced therapists are pleased to offer cup therapy as part of our comprehensive approach to patient care, and we’re excited to share its numerous benefits with you. 

Learn more about Cup Therapy

Cup therapy, also known as suction cup therapy, vacuum therapy, or Myofascial Decompression (MFD), is a novel approach to manual therapy and exercise. It combines negative pressure technology with evidence-based principles in movement science. Physical therapists use this treatment in orthopedics and sports medicine, and cupping can also help with overall wellness

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. Cup therapy remains popular today, with new techniques and methods to maximize the benefits of this ancient healing practice. This pain-free treatment can help treat a variety of conditions.

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

  • Pain Relief: Cup therapy can help alleviate muscle tension, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain associated with various musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain.
  • Improved Circulation: The suction created by cup therapy promotes increased blood flow to the treated area, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and facilitating the removal of metabolic waste products.
  • Enhanced Healing: By promoting circulation and tissue relaxation, cup therapy can accelerate the body’s natural healing processes, helping to reduce recovery time from injuries and improve overall tissue health.
  • Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Cup therapy has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system, helping to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality.
  • Detoxification: Cup therapy can stimulate the lymphatic system, facilitating the removal of toxins and metabolic waste products from the body, promoting detoxification and overall wellness.

Additionally, cupping can help stimulate the lymphatic system, which can help remove toxins from the body. This makes it beneficial for your overall wellness.

In physical therapy, cupping is primarily an orthopedics and sports injury treatment. It is often a good option for athletes, including cyclists, bodybuilders, 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

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 to use a vacuum pump that draws the air out of the cup, creating a vacuum effect that suctions the skin into the cup. Alternatively, the traditional method is heating the inside of the cup before it’s applied to the skin. As the air inside cools, it creates a vacuum effect that suctions in the skin.

How long the cups stay in place depends on the individual’s condition and response to treatment. The typical duration ranges 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.

After removing the cups, your therapist may use massage techniques to enhance the treatment’s effects further. 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.

Since cupping breaks tiny capillaries in your skin, you will have round red marks where the cups were placed. They may look similar to bruises. Any redness or marks will fade within a week or two. 

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. It is guided by experienced practitioners dedicated to improving your health and quality of life.

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Take the Next Step

If you’re interested in experiencing the benefits of cup therapy for yourself, schedule an appointment with Dr. Megan Mullin Physical Therapy today. Our experienced therapists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals, incorporating cup therapy as part of a comprehensive approach to healing and wellness. Let us help you enhance your healing journey and achieve optimal health and well-being.