We call it myofascial decompression. Both techniques refer to the process that results in those circular bruises you’ve seen on Michael Phelps and James Harrison, amongst many other athletes.
However, myofascial decompression isn’t just for athletes. The technique can be really effective for the treatment of myofascial issues in the general population as well.
Additionally, THERE IS ONE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CUPPING AND MYOFASCIAL DECOMPRESSION. When we perform myofascial decompression, we’re often incorporating active movements of the tissue, which can add a significant improvement in the function and length of the tissues.
The cups actually change the relationship of the muscles AND the fascia. So, what is fascia anyway? Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place. The tissue does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin. When stressed, it tightens up. Although fascia looks like one sheet of tissue, it’s actually made up of multiple layers with liquid in between called hyaluronan. It’s designed to stretch as you move. But there are certain things that cause fascia to thicken and become sticky. When it dries up and tightens around muscles, it can limit mobility and cause painful knots to develop.
So, why myofascial decompression instead of massage, for example? Well, the big difference between both techniques, and the reason why the cupping can be more effective, is that we’re PULLING the tissues apart instead of compressing them. This, in theory, can help improve blood flow, tissue mobility, and reverse the bonding of the collagen fibers of the fascia, resulting in greater movement and faster recovery.
We use a multitude of therapies to address nerve, muscle and fascia mobility, and myofascial decompression is one of those techniques. If you’re curious about cupping, and want to give it a try to improve your mobility and decrease pain, let us know!