Cupping has been gaining popularity since 2015, but got a lot more recognition in 2016 when Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps, appeared for his competition with strange purple and red marks speckling across his back and shoulders. Though we may not all be olympic athletes, mothers can still benefit from cupping to improve mobility, tissue pliability, reduce stress, and allow you to function better in the long run.
Cupping can affect tissues up to 4 inches deep - at this depth it will impact blood vessels, fascia, muscles and scar tissue.
What Does It Do?
* Encourages circulation
* Alleviates adhesions
* Lift, rehydrate, and manipulate fascia
* Can cause micro trauma in tissues (i.e. cupping can bring about beneficial inflammation to encourage deep-seated restrictions to clear and rebuild healthy tissue, thus encouraging the body's own process of regeneration).
* Encourage neovascularization (i.e. new blood vessels bring a fresh supply of nutrients and oxygen to deficient areas)
* Alleviate excessive pressure on sensory organs in soft tissue leading to a reduction in pain.
When placed along the lumbothoraco muscles it can release these muscles and allow for the abdominals to approximate. Cupping can also be used along a cesarean scar to decrease scar tissue buildup. A light suction and lift and release technique can also help with desensitization.
Cupping can speed up the approximation process and sometimes can close the gap to two fingers width within one session (for reference diastasis recti is separation greater than 2 fingers). Follow cupping sessions with soft tissue mobilization, stretching, and strengthening of the treated areas to maintain myofascial pliability. And above all else, continue practicing good posture in all your daily activities.
Other Areas Commonly Treated Postpartum With Use of Cups:
* Sciatica pain
* Carpal tunnel
* Low back pain
* Neck pain
* Shoulder pain
Next time you are in to see your physical therapist, ask if cupping is a good option for you!
Reference: Gilmartin, Shannon. Modern Cupping Therapy 2017