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Injury Time Out with Capilano Rehab: Cupping

| August 19, 2016 | Reply

What’s up with the Olympic Athlete Cup Marks?

Gold Medal swimmer Michael Phelps and other Olympians with the funny cups marks on their backs and shoulders have taken Rio by storm but many people are not familiar with cupping (a practice of myofascial release).    Myofascial Release is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat a variety of nagging aches and pains.  Health professionals, most often registered massage therapists, will use small silicone cups (hence cupping) to slide along musculature.  The suction created by the cups increases circulation, increases lymphatic and venous drainage and stimulates the stretch reflex of muscles and overlying fascia.[i]  In short, it can reduce the tonicity of the muscle and connective tissue, thereby reducing pain and tightness.

 Next question, what is Fascia?

Fascia is a dense irregular connective tissue which surrounds and interconnects your muscles and every single organ of the body.  Believe it or not, it is the largest system in your body.  If the fascia is traumatized through injury or overuse, it can become dehydrated and this can lead to reduced flexibility, postural deviation and myofascial pain. 

So how does this help Athletes?

Some of the benefits of myofascial release through cupping are:

  • Increased range on motion (flexibility).
  • Increase in nutrient rich blood flow to an injured area (helps with healing).
  • Breaks down myofascial adhesions (allows muscles and fascia to stretch and contract properly, decreasing risk of injury).

So no matter whether you are an elite athlete or just love working your flower beds, level of myofascial cupping can benefit you!  Call Capilano Rehab at 780-466-1104 to book a myofascial cupping appointment, and be prepared to wear your cupping marks like a badge of honour…just like Michael Phelps did at the Olympics!

[i] E DiGiovanna, S Schiowitz, D Dowing, 2005


Capilano Rehab Centre | Physical Therapy Capilano physical therapists have provided state-of-the-art physical therapy, sports physiotherapy, back pain, WCB, accident, whiplash and injury rehab to clients in Edmonton for over 10 years.

5832 Terrace Rd Edmonton, AB. T6A 3Y8

(780) 466-1104

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Category: Active Living, Massage Therapy, Myofascial Release, Sports Rehab

About the Author ()

I am Capilano Rehab Centre’s Community Care Coordinator. I have been with Capilano Rehab for 9 years primarily as a Physio Assistant, but also as a Receptionist. I have a Physical Education Degree from the University of Alberta, which I will eventually use when my two young children are grown up. In the mean time I am enjoying helping people in the Community through my role as Community Care Coordinator and bringing awareness to how a Physiotherapist can help you get back to the activities you love the most!

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