Cupping for Trigger Points

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Cupping for Trigger Points

Many people have experienced the pain of trigger points; They are often found in muscles that are overworked or injured from falls, strains and sprains. Cupping for Trigger Points can reduce and eventually eliminate, this pain!

A trigger point is defined as:

  • the point should be tender upon compression
  • there must be a taut band of muscle
  • there must be referred pain
  • and the therapist should be able to reproduce the pain patterns through compression of the trigger point

The traditional technique to release trigger points is to compress and hold, applying ischemic compression. This technique forces the blood and lymph out of the area and signals the trigger point to release. A more effective way to release trigger points is to apply a series of strokes across the point and the taut band. Thus, flushing out the blood and lymph while allowing fresh blood to move into the tissue.

Imagine now, how much more effective cupping is in ‘drawing’ fluid, both blood and lymph, from a trigger point through the application of negative pressure (suction). Also, once the cup is placed, it can be gently ‘pumped’ to move the fluid even more. The flexibility of the silicone cups I use allows for greater control of the strength of suction.

As trigger points are usually located deep in the muscle tissue, I often use medium to strong cupping to get them to release. This moves the Qi, Blood and lymph fluid, which is the therapeutic effect you are looking for when cupping trigger points. While static cupping is certainly effective (what people saw in the Olympics), moving cupping can be used, especially when there is more than one trigger point in an area. Moving cupping is especially effective for musculoskeletal complaints, muscle relaxation and sports injuries. Most clients I suggest cupping to, now think that they will automatically have the bruises, however the moving cupping, does not produce those.

I use moving cupping in most massages, as it is very effective in myofascial release. When an entire section of the body just feels tight (such as in the left or right upper quadrant of the body), it is usually a symptom of fascial entrapment. The suction of the cups lifts these layers up and allows more room in the tissue, also leaving the receiver feeling looser and free from the pain and tightness.