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Myofascial Dry Cupping: What is it and how does it work?

Have you ever been watching sport on TV and seen an athlete walk out with circular bruise like marks on their body?


Well that would be a sign that they have had some myofascial dry cupping treatment!


Dry Cupping involves plastic cups being placed on the treatment area with a suction using a hand held vacuum pump.



They can be applied in a number of different ways, including:

  • Static – cups are applied and left on for a set amount of time

  • Sliding – a small amount of suction will be used allowing the therapist to move and slide the cups along the area being treated

  • Walking – 2-3 cups are continuously applied and removed across the area being treated

  • Active Movement – the cups are applied statically and you then go through a range of movements

  • Soft Tissue Release – similar to sliding, the cups are moved while you go through a range of movements

  • Stretching – stretches are carried out while the cups are applied statically to the area you are stretching



There are a number of benefits to using dry cupping as a treatment method:

  • Increase blood flow

  • Increases oxygen and nutrients to the area

  • Removes stagnant blood

  • Helps reduce swelling

  • Stimulates the healing process

  • Helps manage pain

  • Reduces muscle tension and improves flexibility

  • Stimulate the nervous system


Remember those circular marks that you’ve seen on athletes, they are marks left from the suction of the cups. They have a hickey like appearance and can be a range of colours lasting anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks! There’s no reason to be alarmed, you may find it’s a bit tender, similar to after you’ve had a sports massage, but it does not last! The difference in colour can tell us more about your injury, as demonstrated by the image below:

Image: demonstrating cupping marks via Thomson Chinese Medicine


Interested in trying cupping?


Contact us to book your appointment on 0117 329 2090 or email info@toptotoephysiotherapy.co.uk


By Amy Shephard

September 2022

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