Myofascial Cupping

Loosen, stretch, and separate.

Cupping is an ancient tradition common in Russia, China, Greece and Turkey, where “flash cupping” (glass cups heated with a flame) is the usual method.

In modern times therapists like James Maddock use flexible silicone cups that are easily adjustable for many applications.

A man getting cupped on his long back muscles.
A man getting cupping for back muscle pain.

Cupping is especially effective on immobile, stiff bodies, or where layers of muscle or connective tissues stick together and cannot easily slide across one another.

Where with normal massage applies downward pressure using the hands and fingers, cupping applies pressure upwards using suction. This treats your muscles fully, in all three dimensions.

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What conditions can cupping help?

Myofascial cupping is extremely useful for improving any stiffness in mobility. it is therefore useful for the following conditions:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • ITB friction syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Postural imbalances and postural pain
  • Curved back (kyphosis or lordosis)
  • Stiff neck
  • Hunched or rounded shoulders
  • Much, much more…

Free yourself.

By stretching and separating your muscles and their surrounding tissues along specific lines, we can achieve targeted reductions in resistance and stiffness, and improvements in mobility, freedom, and strength. When your muscles are free to flex and relax as they wish, everything feels better.

As a result, clients often remark that the cupped areas where they feel “empty”, almost as if they are hollow or not there at all. They feel as if there is nothing holding them back from moving as was always intended.

How does it work?

By lifting and expanding the muscles, tendons, and surrounding structures, myofascial cupping dilates the bundles of muscle fibres, stretching them sideways. Regular massage only presses down and compresses your tissues, or stretches them sideways.

It also effectively stretches the myofascia – the connective tissue that wraps around your muscles and holds their shape. By stretching the ‘packaging’ of your muscles it gives your muscle fibres more room inside the package to stretch and contract. This improves your freedom of movement.

Additionally, cupping dilates your blood vessels, improving oxygenation, nutrient delivery, and the clearing of cellular wastes.

Does cupping leave marks?

It can, but it doesn’t have to. There are two broad methods: gliding cups, and static cups.

If static cups are left for too long or are on too tight, they can leave circular red marks. These will fade in 3–5 days.

Gliding cups are far less likely to mark. They may elicit redness and blood flow but are generally moving just a little too fast to leave a circle.

If you have questions about myofascial cupping, send me an email or give me a call and I’ll be very happy to go through it with you.

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