Cup Therapy

What is cup therapy?

Cup Therapy, or Myofascial Decompression (MFD), is a technique that has evolved from ancient cupping treatment in traditional medicine. While it may look similar at first, modern Cup Therapy is vastly different in form and function. Modern Cup Therapy uses a pump and high-strength cup to draw a vacuum on muscle and fascia to break up scar tissue and release tight muscles. It is an active treatment modality typically paired with movement correction, strength training, and sports massage.  Modern Cup Therapy is backed by clinical research and taught in US medical board certified settings.


How does it work?

Cup Therapy can be thought of as a reverse massage. In traditional massage, pressure is used to compress points of muscle and fascia. This method has its limits: our injured muscles and tissues have knots and kinks.  Imagine compressing a bundle of rope to try un-knotting it - the knots would still be there no matter how hard you press. This is where cup therapy has a unique advantage: it draws the fibers and tissues apart, creating space for the body to heal. Scientifically engineered cups are applied on the skin creating a light vacuum. For maximum effect, a patient will typically move her body underneath the cup, which stretches out adhesions and knots to break up scar tissue, release muscles, and restore function to area.


What does cup therapy do?

Cup therapy reduces recovery time and improves performance in ways that other treatment modalities cannot. Cup Therapy is often the first and last modality that practitioners employ to empower their athletes and patients to recover faster and perform better.


Practitioners of physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and athletic trainers all employ cup therapy. It has been widely used by both world class athletes (Olympians, pro sports league players, dancers, fighters) and those who live active lifestyles or simply want to be pain-free.


Is it safe?

Like any tool, Cup Therapy is safe when used properly by a trained practitioner or educated consumer. It is normal to experience temporary circular marks and/or light bruising from the negative pressure of the cups. These marks are not harmful and can last anywhere between 2 days to 1 week. Healthy tissue typically experiences less discoloration and recovers more quickly from a treatment session.

References

Abstract: Cup Therapy from a biomechanical perspective

The Effectiveness of Cup Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Research excerpt: Myofascial decompression on shoulder soft tissue

Abstract: "The Effects of Static versus Dynamic Myofascial decompression on hamstring flexibility in a college-aged population: A pilot study"

Cup therapy in Acupuncture