How Does Cupping Help Tight Muscles?

Cupping is one of many modalities proven to provide relief for acute and chronic pain of muscles. It is a myofascial decompression technique used via suction by a silicone, glass, or plastic cup. The suction to a body part creates increased blood flow circulation, which helps to relieve muscle tension. Increased blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients get to the area to help aid in the recovery process of muscles. Tight muscles are compressed and have poor circulation, which can lead to muscle pain, weakness, postural imbalances and a build up of toxins. Cupping feels like a deep tissue massage but isn’t as painful. Unlike massages, cupping uses a negative pressure to release stagnation and lactic acid that is deep in the muscle layer.

Cupping is usually a 10-20 minute treatment that can be done stationary or with the cup gliding over the surface of the skin. Most patients feel immediate relief of muscle pain post intervention. Cupping is done once a week for usually up to 4-6 weeks, depending on the body part and condition being treated. Many people have seen that cupping can leave a colored, painless spot at the area being treated. The degree of discoloration reflects how much stagnation there is in the area being treated. The marks usually fade after one to two days, depending on how well your body can circulate blood.

There are many reasons to try cupping. It can be used to help with fibromyalgia, poor circulation, headaches, arthritis, stagnant lymph and edema, scars and adhesions, and athletic stress and injury. People gravitate toward cupping because it is a noninvasive, natural therapy. You do not have to insert anything into the body or ingest any medication.

Cupping is a great intervention to do in conjunction with rehab and other modalities to further enhance recovery. Reducing tissue tension, along with strengthening and stretching are beneficial ways to decrease acute and chronic pain or muscle tension.

Whether you are post-surgical, have chronic or acute pain from sports, or sit at a desk all day, cupping could be great for you! At Advanced Care Specialists, we have trained practitioners who can perform cupping and other modalities. If you are looking for cupping or soft tissue work in Racine, please call our office located in Southeast Wisconsin.

Austin Oettinger, LAT

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