Applied to the surface of the body, suction cups have been used to treat a wide variety of injuries and diseases for thousands of years in the Far East, and in many medical traditions around the world. For musculo-skeletal pain, cupping has unique benefits because it can work like massage but in reverse, by decompressing and stretching myofascial tissues away from the underlying bones (instead of pushing them into bones like conventional massage). Suction cupping:
- Stretches and mobilizes muscles, tendons, fascia, and underlying joints.
- Triggers muscle relaxation reflexes.
- Pumps blood and lymphatic fluid through tight, adhered or restricted muscles, removing wastes and bringing new oxygen and nutrients to injured areas.
Therapeutic movement + cups
Using specific muscles and joints with the cups placed in specific locations can increase the therapeutic effects of suction through:
- Actively engaging and mobilizing the underlying muscles, fascia and joints.
- Reducing painful trigger points and adhesions.
- Restoring normal muscle-tendon strength and flexibility, and joint range-of-motion.
- Decreasing pain-inhibition to movement.
Active cupping can play an important role in rehabilitation of injured body regions.