Myofascial Decompression AKA Cupping
Increase efficiency, re-pattern neuromuscular junction, improve performance
From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that humans have a slowly adapting plasticity system in order to adjust to patterns of long-term use. In addition to this capacity, we have also developed a more rapid system of adapting our form and local tissue density to temporary demands. In many ways our bodies are "FASCIA-NATING"! Fascia is a multi-dimensional tissue that forms our internal soft tissue architecture. Fascia is an internal webbing that connects muscle to bone (tendons are considered a part of the fascial system), bone to bone (ligaments are considered a part of the fascial system), slings our organ structures, cushions our vertebrae (vertebral discs are considered a part of the fascial system), and wraps our bones. This internal webbing helps different muscle systems communicate with one another. Fascias should be supple enough to slide, glide, twist and bind like long, thin sheets of rubber. Poor nutrition & hydration, constant inflammation and stress can inhibit proper fascial function, which can result in chronic pain, muscle soreness and inevitably injury.
So why does fascia matter medically
Fascia functions as an important infection barrier. Much like skin prevents pathogens from getting into the body in the first place, layers of fascia limit their spread. If fascia stops the spread of disease, what happens behind the barrier? Simply put: a blocked infection is also a trapped infection, which can destroy a compartment, with dire consequences. Since fascia is so tough and can often be unyielding, circulation gets cut off and all the flesh in a compartment can begin to die. Doesn't this sound horrible? Take a look at unhealthy tissue. A person with unhealthy tissue lacks proper circulation, flexibility and strength = poor mobility.
Fascia is a Fluid System
While it’s difficult for many to understand how a support structure could be a fluid structure: it’s true. Juicy fascia is happy fascia. The best analogy is fascia is like a sponge. When a sponge dries out it becomes brittle and hard. It can easily be broken with only a little force, because of how crispy it has become. However, when a sponge is wet and well hydrated it gets springy and resilient. You can crush it into a little ball and it bounces back. You can wring it and twist it, but it is difficult to break. When patients talk about chronic pain and muscular imbalances I often consider nutritional improprieties such as dehydration, alcoholism, increased LDL and high-sugar diets. Likewise I consider over-training, lack of movement, and/or an imbalance of movement based techniques. If someone were to ask me for a clear example of nutritional and musculoskeletal correlation in general health: A person's fascia is usually the give away.
Why Should You Care
Does quality of life matter? Fascia can be finicky: It gets stiff and sticky when we don't move around enough or eat poorly. Fascia can also get bound up and twisted when we move too much or do repetitive motions. Unaddressed myofascial pain syndromes (e.g. Plantar fasciitis, trigger points, adhesions, ect.) result in compensatory patterns within our bodies, but in our culture we call it, “just getting old.” The best way to avoid the domino effect is to keep your fascia healthy so that nothing gets jumbled up in the knit of the “sweater” and you are therefore at much lower risk for developing a compensatory pattern which, by its very nature, is always going to be global.
Myofascial Decompression (cupping Therapy)
Myofascial Decompression Techniques is a movement based manual therapy which evolved out of addressing sports and orthopedic injuries which did not respond to traditional joint mobilization, other soft tissue interventions or therapeutic exercise. Simply addressing symptom based articular, neural or muscular complaints are temporary fixes when the root cause of the problem may be connective tissue matrix dysfunction or fascial plane restriction. Without addressing collagen cross bonding and adhesion, and the compensatory movement inefficiencies they may cause, outcomes are always less effective. Cupping Therapy is often used to help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, release illness from the interior to the exterior, mobilize restricted tissue, remove blood stasis, improve circulation, reduce edema, increase blood flow, reduction of cellulite.
This is the process of using a suction on different areas of the body in order to gather the blood in that area without incisions. This therapy often causes petechiae, round spots that appear on the skin, as a result of bleeding underneath the skin.
This is similar to dry cupping. In addition oil is applied to the skin (before applying the cups) in order to allow easy movement of the cups. This technique is often used in combination with active stretching to help mobilize fascia.
This is the process of using a suction at different areas of the body, but with incisions in order to remove 'harmful' blood which lies just beneath the surface of the skin. This technique is often used to remove blood stasis and toxic build up.