There are many other massage techniques therapists use in combination with traditional forms of massage therapy. Your licensed therapist will discuss your specific needs and create a customized therapy plan which may include some of these add-on modalities.
Cupping is an ancient healing therapy in which a licensed therapist places cups on various parts of your body depending on where the issues are. The cups can be made of glass, bamboo, ceramic, metal, silicone or plastic.
When placed on the skin the cup creates a vacuum or suction forcing the skin to pull upward drawing fluid into the suctioned area. This suction forces tiny blood vessels under the skin to break open and tricks your body into treating the area like an injury, sending more blood to the area to stimulate the natural healing process. The theory behind cupping is that it clears the pores and releases toxins.
What are the benefits of cupping?
Many individuals believe cupping helps in the discomfort of many pain management issues. One study found that cupping relieved the symptoms of osteoarthritis, relieving pain, edema, stiffness, and disability. Researchers likened the effects to taking 650mg of acetaminophen three times a day.
Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
Back pain, neck pain, knee pain and shoulder pain
Breathing problems, such as asthma
Gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel disease (IBD)
Headaches and migraines.
High blood pressure (hypertension).
What can I expect after cupping?
Since the point of cupping is to break blood vessels and bring toxins to the surface you can expect some bruising at the site. Depending on the severity of the issue the bruising may take anywhere from one to two days to a few weeks to heal.
As with all trauma you can expect to feel varying degrees of itching, stinging, and soreness throughout the healing process is. This is completely normal. However, there are certain circumstances when a medical professional should be consulted. Call immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Khan AA, Jahangir U, Urooj S. Management of knee osteoarthritis with cupping therapy. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2013;4(4):217-223. doi:10.4103/2231-4040.121417
MLA:Khan, Asim Ali et al. “Management of knee osteoarthritis with cupping therapy.” Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research vol. 4,4 (2013): 217-23. doi:10.4103/2231-4040.121417
APA:Khan, A. A., Jahangir, U., & Urooj, S. (2013). Management of knee osteoarthritis with cupping therapy. Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research, 4(4), 217–223. https://doi.org/10.4103/2231-4040.121417
NLM:Khan AA, Jahangir U, Urooj S. Management of knee osteoarthritis with cupping therapy. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2013 Oct;4(4):217-23. doi: 10.4103/2231-4040.121417. PMID: 24350053; PMCID: PMC3853699.
Active Release Therapy (ART)
Active Release Techniques (ART) are different methods used to relieve tissue tension by removing fibrosis/adhesions, which can develop after continued, repetitive use of the muscles. Muscular weakness, numbness, aching, tingling, and burning sensations are symptoms you may experience as a result of overuse.
Used to treat the soft tissues its purpose is to:
Restore free and unimpeded motion of all soft tissues
Release entrapped nerves
Re-establish optimal function of soft tissues
How does ART work?
After discussing your concerns with a therapist they'll manually apply degrees of pressure to address your injuries. Your licensed therapist will apply deep tension at the area of tenderness while instructing you to actively move the injury site back and forth, in and out of position. This can be very painful. If you do not have a high tolerance for pain let your therapist know in advance as this may not be the right technique to treat your injury.
The results of ART vary, but have shown to increase performance of power, strength, and flexibility, particularly in athletes.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
Used as another form of soft tissue manipulation, this therapy involves the introduction of an instrument typically made of stainless steel with bevelled edges and contours allowing for deeper penetration along different parts of the body. Also known as scraping, this technique works in the same way as cupping, breaking the blood vessels to allow the release of blood to the injured area to promote healing.
As with cupping, you can expect the same bruising to occur and should resolve in a few days.