Cupping is becoming a popular treatment in the manual therapy world. Maybe you’ve even seen those red ‘octopus like’ markings on someone’s shoulder or back while at the grocery store. While used for thousands of years to treat inflammation and improve blood flow, the benefits of cupping therapy extend beyond healing.
Cupping can be used to treat and limit pain in a number of ways. In this article we’ll look at three benefits of cupping therapy and how they can help you keep active, move with less pain, and maintain your lifestyle as you get older.
Decrease Pain Through Fascial Manipulation
Fascia is a band of connective tissue in our bodies that lies just under our skin and attaches to all of our muscles and organs. This connective tissue contains more pain receptors than your muscles. Restrictions and adhesions in the fascia irritate these receptors and are a common source of pain in adults.
Cupping is one of the BEST therapies to manipulate and treat our fascia. The suctioning effect of cupping lifts our skin off of our muscles to break resitrictions and improve movement for less pain.
Cupping can be used manipulate fascia to break restrictions/adhesions to avoid irritating your pain receptors.
Treating Peripheral Nerve Entrapments
Peripheral nerve entrapments are a common cause of pain in adults. Our nerves run through the space between our muscular and skin layer of tissues (see image above). Adhesions in our fascia entrap these nerves and lead to pain. Carpal Tunnel’s is a common example of a nerve entrapment that causes pain and numbeness in the wrists and hands.
Cupping can be used as a tool to treat nerve entrapments and decrease peripheral nerve pain. The suctioning effect of the cup separates the skin layer from our muscular layer. This ‘lifting of the skin’ creates more room for our nerves to run and removes areas where our nerve can become stuck.
Cluneal nerve entrapment occurs when branches of the cluneal nerve get impinged as they pass through a tunnel formed in our thoracolumbar fascia. Cupping is a great method to free these restrictions and limit pain.
Improve Movement To Decrease Joint Pain
Improper movement is one of the most common causes of joint pain in adults as they get older. Improving movement will limit impact on your joints decrease pain and treat arthritis. Cupping can be used as a tool to improve movement through better body awareness, control, and proprioception.
Cupping provides a sensory stimulus to our skin that is used by our brain to improve spatial orientation of our joints (also called haptic cueing). In simpler terms, cupping utilizes the power of touch to improve control, positioning, and awareness of our movements for less pain.
Cupping of the shoulder joint provides a stimulus to improve shoulder movement and treat shoulder pain.
The benefits of cupping therapy have been documented for thousands of years. Traditional cupping focuses on improving blood flow and faster healing. However, newer research is showing how cupping can be used to improve movement and treat pain. Combining these manual therapies with your movement and strength programming is the absolute best way to solve chronic joint pain, keep active, and maintain your lifestyle as you get older.