9 Things we bet you didn’t know about Cupping

Did you know cupping can help you move better and feel better? Well that’s not all, here are 9 things we bet you didn’t know about Cupping:

Myotherapy and Cupping

1. Myotherapy utilises cupping as a myofascial release technique, freeing up soft tissue and increasing movement, while decreasing pain and stiffness. Soft tissue called Fascia holds us all together and plays an integral part in human movement and function.

Layers of fascia can become dehydrated and stuck together causing stiffness, and in some cases, pain. That amazing stretch you get first thing in the morning, that’s you mobilising your own fascia!

mobilising fascia feels good!

2. Evidence suggests Cupping is beneficial in conditions such as plantar fasciitis, ITB syndrome, and patellofemoral pain syndrome, back pain, and many more. Cupping can also be used to treat general stiffness and movement dysfunction.

The Origins of Cupping

3. Cupping is believed to have originated in China, Egypt, and Greece, with
etchings of cupping found in Egypt dating back to 1500BC.

4. Widely used by Chinese medicine practitioners, cupping as a technique is more commonly associated Eastern medicine. However more recently western medicine and sports science have integrated this technique with great effect.

Image courtesy of
Qureshi et al. 2017

How Cupping works

5. Cupping creates a negative pressure within the cup itself, drawing the underlying tissue out. This separates and stretches the layers of fascia, allowing the tissues to be re-hydrated and therefore move freely. The ‘wave’ in the tissue created by the cup also changes how the tissue layers interact with each other. So when this occurs in the area being treated, improvements in movement and reductions in pain can be felt.

6. Cupping can be applied both statically or dynamically to achieve great effects in fascial freedom.

7. A skilled practitioner should apply cupping, they will know what areas to avoid, how long to leave a cup on, and how much pressure is required to get the desired result.

What about those red marks?

8. The red marks left behind from cupping is actually micro damage to the superficial blood vessels, not toxins being drawn out of the tissue. These marks are not necessarily signs of an effective treatment.

Are there different types of cups?

9. Cups can be made from glass, plastic, silicone, or rubber. Glass cupping requires a flame to create suction, whereas the more practical plastic cups are applied with a manual hand pump. Plastic cups are my cup of choice, as these can be applied with a more precise pressure.

So there you have it! Some very interesting bits of info regarding a popular and useful, but often misunderstood, physical therapy tool.

Written by Dan Hammond, Myotherapist (Bachelor Health Science – Myotherapy) and Master Functional Trainer (CertIV Fitness). 2019

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Qureshi, N. A., Ali, G. I., Abushanab, T. S., El-Olemy, A. T., Alqaed, M. S., El-Subai, I. S., & Al-Bedah, A. M. N. (2017). Review: History of cupping (Hijama): a narrative review of literature. Journal of Integrative Medicine15, 172–181. https://doi-org.ezproxy.endeavour.edu.au/10.1016/S2095-4964(17)60339-X

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