What Is Therapeutic Cupping?

Therapeutic cupping is a technique that used in physical therapy to create suction which leads to a response in the tissue. There are many different methods of cupping such as static, active, and dynamic. This will bring relaxation to the tissue and biochemical changes in damaged or irritated areas. Cupping is one of the only modalities that distracts the tissue oppose to compression. The cups can bring fresh chemicals to the area to aid in tissue healing and trigger a bio mechanical response that cause muscle relaxation.

There are different theories as to why or how cupping works. One is the idea of an increase in blood flow to the area (insert bruising) which triggers the inflammatory cascade leading to healing. There is also wet cupping where a small incision is made underneath the cup allowing toxins to exit the body. We do not perform this specific technique and focus our efforts on dry cupping coupled with movement. 

Physical therapist utilize the distraction of the tissue to create space in an area and allow structures to move freely with less pain or irritation. After slow, repeated motion the tissue starts to relax underneath the cups resulting in improved mobility and function with less pain. Once the cups have helped relax the tissue we transition to strength and stability training to maintain the newfound motion.

Dr. Tyler cupping shoulder to improve joint function and pain relief
Image of therapeutic cupping to the back