There are a lot of different variations on ways to use cupping therapy during your massage therapy sessions. You could move the cups which i refer to as dynamic cupping. The cups can be stationary which I refer to as static cupping. Finally cups can be placed on a client and then you can move a client (passive range of motion) or the client can move themselves (active range of motion). All these offer different benefits and can be used one at a time or be combined to different regions to truly maximize how much a therapist can accomplish in one single session.
Benefits of Cupping Therapy
Release soft tissue and scar tissue.
Increase circulation to applied area.
Bring up stagnation.
*Stimulate lymphatic system.
Increase skin temperature.
Flush capillary beds.
Static cupping is used by putting cups on a region of the body and leaving them there. If you create a pull and release and rapid fire over larger areas this is known as "flash cupping". I prefer to use static cupping when I am trying to create a strong fascial release in the area, draw up stagnation to the surface, release soft tissue and prep the area for deeper work.
Dynamic Cupping Therapy
Dynamic cupping is utilizing the cups with gliding techniques. This often can feel the same as a positive pressure massage technique like a deep friction fist. Dynamic cupping blends easy into any swedish massage and allows for more thorough results. It is also very effective in working through adhesions and scar tissue through repeated movements in a local area.
Myofascial decompression was created by Dr. Daprato and is a way to work with the fascia and help mobilize it. This is usually performed with static cupping therapy and then passively (practitioner moves body) or actively (client moves body) through a specific range of motion. This helps create a much great pulls of the tissues under the cups and allows a much greater release. This fits well into a sports style treatment session and can easily be done clothed in workout attire so a client can mimic specific movements, or easily fits into a massage therapy session.
Combining cupping therapy styles to maximize results
While static cupping, dynamic cupping, and myofascial decompressions are all amazing techniques that can take your massage sessions to new heights you can easily combine multiple styles and techniques during a single session. Reasons I love doing this is to get even more thorough results or if I need to treat a wide array of areas and I just don't have the time to personally attend to each area with my hands. Below are some examples I see/use frequently.
Example 1: Client only wants lower body for 60mins but also deals witch chronic back pain/tightness
Often when I don't have time to personally assess the back and work on it, assuming its not the priority issue for that specific treatment session, then I'll use myofascial decompression and/or static cupping on the back while I treat the back of legs. This might look like place a row of static cups along the spinal erectors and also some along the latissimus dorsi. Then I can either lets the client relax into them or I can give them some movements I want them to go through while I work on the lower leg using my hands and cupping therapy techniques on the legs.
Example 2: Client comes in and wants super detailed work on their back, hips and chest for 60 mins.
While 60 minutes is a lot of time the more detailed you become the less time you have in specific areas. That is why when working on the back you can easily multitask while getting a deeper release. In the picture below you can see static cupping therapy on one side of the body and previous marks on the other. I can have this static cupping layout on one side and then I utilize my hands and dynamic cupping therapy on the other. This essentially allows me to work each side of the body (left/right) twice. I would also note if one side of the body is more bound to start with the static cupping therapy on that side as it will prep and loosen the tissue allowing you to dive deeper with your hands and dynamic cupping than you could if you went straight too it.
Both of my examples showcased the back but I use this with the legs, diaphragm, and more. Learning to multitask can really maximize the results you achieve each session.
It is important to make sure you ask the clients if it's okay and if they are comfortable with the amount of pressure and stimuli on their body.
Do not forget about cups on the body in a different region and be sure to check in to make sure the dermis is well and there is no tiny cuts under the skin causing blood to come out of the cups (extremely rare but possible).
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