Hand & Foot
What is decompression therapy/cupping?
Cupping therapy has been around for centuries. While some may think it is relatively new to the scene, this couldn't be further from the truth. We can trace cupping techniques back to ancient Egypt and also China. And some experts say it dates back even further than that.
So what exactly is cupping/decompression therapy, and how might it be helpful in the overall healing process? Also known as myofascial decompression therapy, this treatment relies on cups, as the name suggests. The therapist will use suction to generate negative pressure beneath the cups that will have been placed on select spots across the body's contour. In older forms of cupping, a fire was used during this process to create that negative pressure; now, however, more and more therapists are using a pump as it has proven to be a lot simpler to employ in this particular technique. When the pump is activated, the negative pressure created serves to lift the skin and layer of tissue directly beneath the skin up into the cup.
Several things will subsequently occur as this happens. The muscle underneath where the skin is lifted relaxes. Also, blood flow is promoted, and enhanced blood flow helps in the healing process as blood contains many of the nutrients necessary for faster and more efficient healing.
Some therapists during decompression therapy will also use movement to accompany the actual cupping. This, for example, may entail sliding the cups over the skin or leaving the cups in place and manipulating the skin so that it moves.
Given how decompression/cupping therapy is performed, many tout how well it helps facilitate greater mobility in some muscles. Following surgery, for instance, cupping can do wonders as far as relieving muscle tightness and stiffness and restoring more normal muscle movement and function.
How to Prepare For Cupping/Myofascial Decompression Therapy?
First off, you want to wear loose and comfortable clothing to your treatment appointment. Depending on the area you are having cupped, you might, for example, wear shorts or a tank top. Also, before your myofascial decompression, you want to be sure and hydrate. Hydration is so essential for most spa treatments. Keep in mind that you will likely notice some bruising on the skin when the cupping is completed. This is very common. However, if you have a unique engagement coming up or a big event and do not want noticeable bruises showing (depending on the treatment area), you might want to hold off until after your event.
What is The Purpose of Cupping?
So why have a myofascial decompression therapy treatment? Many people do wonder about this. If someone has musculoskeletal disorders and specific movement patterns that lend themselves to extreme tightness, then cupping will often be recommended. Additionally, it has been used to help break up scar tissue, and as mentioned, it increases circulation and blood flow to critical areas and thus spurs the healing process.
What Can You Expect During Decompression Cupping Therapy?
You will likely be asked to lie on your back. However, depending on the area to be treated, you could also be asked to lie on your side or stomach. The cups will then be placed on targeted areas of your body. It is not uncommon to feel a slight pinch when the cups are placed. Some people say it is more like the feeling of tight pressure. If it feels too tight or uncomfortable, let the therapist know to adjust the cups accordingly. Generally, the therapist will also use lotion beneath the mugs to facilitate any movement required.
After treatment, as noted, it is customary to see bruising on the cupped areas. The bruises can be lighter in color, or some may be dark purplish. The severity of the bruise is usually connected to how long the cups were left on the skin's surface. There can be some soreness afterward as well. And this can last up to 24 hours in some cases.
Are there Risks with Cupping?
As with any spa treatment, risks are minimal. That said, cupping can be more intense than some massage treatments, so if you do have any health concerns talk to a physician first. If you have open wounds or any bruising and active soreness, you may want to avoid cupping. If you're in treatment for cancer, talk to a doctor before making an appointment for this form of decompression therapy. If you suffer from the following, speak to a healthcare professional before undergoing any cupping treatment: anemia, sensitive skin issues, blood clotting disorders, fever, or pregnancy, among other health concerns.
What are the Benefits of cupping/myofascial decompression therapy?
As mentioned, the benefits of cupping/decompression therapy can be pretty extensive, especially where healing is concerned. Among some of the other key benefits of this particular spa-based treatment are:
- Enhanced circulation, which can aid with many types of healing
- The lessening of active scar tissue
- Helps to release tissue adhesions
- Can speed up recovery times from surgery, trauma, and injury
- Has been shown to decrease pain in those who've had it done
- Improves overall fluid and nutrient exchange
What types of conditions can potentially be treated with cupping?
Not every spa will offer myofascial decompression therapy. Do your research if this is the type of treatment you are looking for. Ensure that their cupping therapists are trained and experienced in the technique. Ask any questions before your session. And of course, for those who have medical conditions or any healthcare concerns, first talking to your doctor is very important.