Olympic Exposure to Cupping

By Danielle Eley

If you have been watching the Olympics or more specifically Michael Phelps you probably noticed the perfectly circular bruises on his back and shoulder. Welcome to the wonderful world of Cupping. While there is long history to this traditional Chinese medicine, it is now being utilized in the therapeutic realm, which refer to as Instrumental Myofascial Decompression or (IMFD). IMFD technique is used to not only increase blood flow to tissues, but also to increase fascial mobility or break down scar tissue to improve movement patterns. During application we encourage passive and active movement for neuromuscular re-education. I have had great success using IMFD on tissues that are difficult to mobilize with the hands, or tissues that would benefit from distraction rather than compression. The IT-band, hamstrings, shoulders and back are what I most commonly use it for and while patients typically look as though they were attacked by an octopus (short term), the long term results are great for improving mobility, increasing range of motion and decreasing pain.  If you have any questions about cupping email me at Danielle@santarosapt.com Special thanks to our great intern Trent for the demo!