Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cupping vs Massage

Remember seeing Michael Phelps show up to the Olympics with those funny spots all over his back? That is due to cupping and is Meghan Taff’s third certification that we will be talking about this week. Myofascial Decompression (AKA Cupping) is another soft tissue technique that Revolutions in Fitness is passionate about, but how is it different from your average massage, or even ASTYM (another one of Meghan's certifications)?

Think about cupping (Myo-fascial decompression) as pulling tissues that are stuck together apart so that they can better glide, slide and move relative to one another.
Imagine if your jeans were glued to your thigh… Then try to squat! This is what can happen with all muscle fibers and connective tissue in the body. After trauma or immobility, tissues get adhered to each other.

Cupping uses a vacuum technique that lifts the muscles fibers and facia using negative even pressure so oxygenated blood is quickly drawn to the area. The muscles fibres are then “held” within the cup and released when the cup is removed from the skin surface. The cups can also be moved in different directions creating a cross fibre technique and can even be used directly on the spine and other bony areas.

See the dent, this a GLUED Spot causing achilles and plantar fascia issues.

At Revolutions in Fitness, we pair the cups with certain movements to further decompress the tissue. Once we take the cups off, we perform various exercises to promote moving within the new range we have just achieved.

Why Cupping?
There are many benefits to seeing your physical therapist for cupping:

  • Reduce scar tissue formation following inflammation or trauma   
  • Release trigger points and decrease tightness in a muscle and the surrounding fascia
  • Decrease myofascial dysfunction, break up adhesions/scar tissue already present in an area of the body
  • Increase blood flow to a slow healing muscle, tendon or ligament

Hands on Soft tissue mobilization / Massage
Massage, on the other hand, is also a fantastic tool used to alleviate muscular tension by using pressure from the therapist to apply pressure to the muscle fibres to get them to and relax. This could be a very light or a very heavy pressure for:

  • Reduction of muscle tension and stiffness
  • Relief of muscle spasms
  • Greater flexibility and range of motion
  • Increase of the ease and efficiency of movement
  • Improvement of the circulation of blood and movement of lymph

Usually a blending of both cupping and massage techniques works best.

First-Hand Experience with Cupping Post Shoulder Surgery:
Barbara broke her shoulder in two places, and after being advised by her surgeon, she was doing passive PT exercises just 2 hours post surgery. “Because I have worked so closely with my Physical Therapist and have done my exercises regularly and without fail, I was able to start active weight training about 6 weeks faster than usual and my passive range of motion is back to perfect”.

The scar tissue is another important factor that inhibits progress with active range of motion post surgery because of the soft tissues around the shoulder being pretty glued together. “Curtis got me started on cupping, and it provided immediate relief. I instantly had a lessening of pain and I am noticing that my shoulder is less stiff through the end range of motion. I am so grateful for the excellent care I have gotten from Mark and Curtis and everybody at Revolutions in Fitness”.

Look closely for the indentations that the scar tissue has created on Barbara's shoulder. These are glued spots (fascial adhesions) between muscles and other connective tissue's.

In order to determine whether Cupping treatment is right for you, schedule your appointment with Meghan today: Phone: (650) 260 4743