Cupping in all its forms is an ancient soft tissue manipulation technique practiced by many East Asian countries as well as the ancient Egyptians! It is an integral part to the practice of Chinese medicine since as early as 281AD. Cupping, in its most basic sense, decompresses myofascial tissues (these tissues include muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia). This decompression creates more space between the skin and the muscles, allowing for increased blood flow, lymph flow, and reformation/realignment of muscle fibers.
In many people with musculoskeletal pain, muscle fibers get “knotted up.” Within these knots are not only muscle fibers but also small blood vessels and nerve fibers. Cupping is extremely effective at decompressing these knots–which entails breaking up the muscle fibers, small blood vessels, and nerve fibers.
When these knots are broken up, blood flow increases to the area–bringing along cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts lay down new collagen, essentially new muscle fibers and other soft tissue structures. Fibroblasts respond to mechanical pressure (massage, slide-cupping, chiropractic, taping, etc.), so in in addition to laying down new collagen, the collagen fibers will be aligned correctly (not in a knot) with soft tissue manipulation. In addition to new collagen, a process called angiogenesis also occurs, where new blood vessels are formed, ensuring that that muscular region enjoys healthy blood flow and nourishment. When muscle fibers are aligned correctly, healthy blood is flowing, nerve fibers are nourished and can function normally.
There are different forms of cupping: slide-cupping, stationary cupping, and bleed cupping. The first two are excellent for musculoskeletal pain, and the third is fantastic for migraines. All are offered at Simpson Family Wellness as a complement to your normal treatment with Dr. Anna and Stephanie.
Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite.