We offer another specialized service at OrthoWell called Cupping Therapy. Cupping has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It is used in TCM to stimulate specific points on the skin which correspond to acupuncture points that lie on energy meridians, or pathways. Through manipulation of the points on the skin, the TCM practitioner can influence or change a specific organ’s blood or energy called Qi (chi).
In our clinic, we use cupping in a different way. We are not TCM practitioners. We are western practitioners with a great respect for eastern treatment philosophy. There are many types of cupping methods. We use Dynamic Cupping in our clinic. I can personally say that I have had incredible results with dynamic cupping. One day I asked myself “if I have such great results, why not use cupping on my patients?”
Our method for using dynamic cupping is to lightly lubricate the skin. We place gel, polymer cups onto a region that we are treating by squeezing the cups and placing them directly onto the skin. When we release the”squeeze”, it creates a negative pressure within the cup which “sucks” the skin up into the cup. The intensity of the negative pressure depends on the tolerance of the patient. Our goal is to pre-stretch the skin and underlying fascia and then to have you slowly move through controlled range of motion exercises in order to increase the effectiveness of the stretch. This is the “dynamic” part of our cupping method. Cupping therapy should NOT be painful! You should experience a warm, pulling sensation during the treatment which lasts around 5-6 minutes. Cupping therapy can improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage. TCM practitioners talk about the release of energy “stagnation” via cupping therapy.
Yes, you will have cupping marks on your skin for several days after a treatment. The color and response to the cupping is dependent on the extent of stiffness or the extent of “stagnation” at the treatment site as well as the amount of time that the cups are in place. TCM practitioners believe that the skin is a mirror of our health. All skin marks that appear as a result of cupping therapy are usually not painful. The discoloration is a result in a change of blood flow through the area. It is not traumatic “bruising”. There is no external or internal damage inflicted to the skin and the capillaries do not leak as a result of injury due to trauma. The “bruised” areas will turn yellow green before totally fading away.
So, we typically perform cupping therapy after we have completed other manual techniques such as pump massage, Active Release Technique and Graston Technique. It is a good way to mobilize the tissue after the other manual therapy techniques. It is just another treatment technique that we offer at OrthoWell to get you better…faster! Check out the video below for a demonstration.