Cupping – My first experience

Mar 13, 2023

Katie, our new Soft Tissue Therapist, sometimes uses mobilisation cupping alongside her other modalities of massage, hands-on therapies, stretches and movements to encourage tissues to “release” and move more easily. This can also help as part of a treatment when you need to recover from strenuous activities. Now I’m a big fan of Acupuncture and I find that it has a very strong and positive effect on me. I’ve never tried cupping before, but we are seeing this used more and more as an alternative to using needles. 

So here I was doing some promo videos with Katie, showing the more hands-on side of her soft tissue and massage techniques when we decided it would be a good idea to try some cupping on my neck. It was feeling a bit stiff, and I couldn’t turn my head fully left and right when I was on my bike. The muscles around the back of my neck were compensating and feeling particularly tight. 

So out came the red and black silicone cups (called “RockPods” – produced by the well known mobility company RockTape) and in the video below you can see the results. This took about three minutes of treatment with some associated stretches, and I think you’ll agree that the results are pretty impressive!  

Now I know there are a lot of you who are going to be grimacing and pulling faces having seen these pictures. In truth, it pinches the skin a bit but it’s not painful. I felt really good immediately afterwards as tissues released. I could even turn my neck and head and look over both shoulders without any discomfort in my neck. 

So how does it work? Well, cupping is designed to pull the tissues inside the suction cup to create a decompression effect. This in turn creates a large flow of blood to the area which effectively flushes the tissues and helps to clear them out. Being Silicon, these allow the therapist to grab, pull and push fascia to treat pain, mobility and movement dysfunctions to (hopefully) deliver excellent patient outcomes… Often getting the patient to move with the cups on (unlike more “traditional” cupping methods) to gain additional benefits and improved mobility. 

A key point to note is that the purple marks often left behind is the same bodily response to a bruise – which is healing and phagocytosis. Often, the darker the colour, the more stagnation the individual had, and so this discolouration is a positive result as it indicates a good level of toxin removal. The purple marks degrade in the same way a bruise would and eventually fade away. This can take anything from a couple of days to a week. However, everyone’s individual body-response is different in terms of how much they may colour and how quickly the marks fade. 

Again, this is a part of a treatment and not the entire treatment. The results from mobilisation cupping have been positive in our clinic, with many patients reporting quicker recovery times, immediate relief and enhanced mobility after use. Next time you’re in clinic, ask Katie more about it!  

Book online with Katie here