Cupping or Myofascial Decompression (MFD)
Cupping is an ancient world-wide healing method. It improves circulation, production of blood and lymph, metabolism, microcirculation, and toxin elimination, and relieves pain and congestion. Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps and professional athletes use natural therapies such as Cupping regularly.
Cupping effects “myofascial decompression,” and is a great complement to massage, which uses “compressive” forces. “It has been found that cupping can affect tissues up to 4 inches deep; affecting blood vessels, fascia, muscles, and scar tissue. Myofascial decompression, or MFD, is being widely used in athletic training, physical therapy, and massage therapy offices,” Jul 29, 2014.
Cupping feels great and creates a “low pressure pull” on the skin and underlying structures. It also tones the skin. Cupping can be a gentle stimulation of the skin; or it can be a stronger suction, influencing deeper in the body.
Cupping on the abdomen can benefit digestion. “The pulling of low pressure upon the belly stimulates the inside of the organs, their peristaltic movement and secretion of digestive fluids…” (Traditional Chinese Medicine Cupping Therapy, Third Edition, by Ilkay Zihni Chirali, 2014; pg. 62).
A stiff shoulder, and other joints can benefit from “better blood flow within the joint, the activity and secretion of synovial fluids” (pg. 62.) By cupping on the back, in areas controlled by relevant spinal nerves, cupping is thought to stimulate spinal and autonomic nerves, which can benefit organs and the local musculature of the back.
I usually perform moving cupping. I place light to moderate massage oil on the skin, expose the inside of the cup to a brief flame, creating the vacuum, and gently place the primed cup on the oiled skin. I can control the intensity of the suction from light to strong. I move the cup slowly along as you feel a pleasant pull on your skin and muscles, greatly relieving tension and stiffness. Gentle moving cupping leaves no markings.
With stationary cupping, the cups are left in place to create a stronger suction in a precise area. Patients should expect to see cupping markings, which resemble a circular area of reddened skin. It is not painful. The discoloration represents muscles clearing out metabolic waste, is part of the natural healing process, and naturally fades in about 1-15 days, depending on the strength of application.
Cupping stimulates a natural and healthy healing response. As always, gentle techniques are always available. Discover how easy & pleasant it is to reduce unhealthy muscle tension naturally and effectively!