Cupping & Graston, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Techniques.

Most people are familiar with massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments, but not everyone is versed in the application of techniques like cupping (myofascial decompression or MDT) and the Graston Technique. 

Cupping (MDT) methods have been used for thousands of years as a treatment intervention aimed at relieving muscular pain, improving circulation and in some ancient theories, aiding the body in riding itself of disease or illness.

Recently, cupping has gained popularity after the 2016 Olympic Games when a rather well-known swimmer was seen with the trademark cupping circles on his body during competition. 

The benefits of cupping for musculoskeletal injuries include: Improved circulation to the injured tissue, relief of muscular tension and reduction of muscular pain. 

Clean plastic cups are placed on the skin and a pump device is used to pull air out of the cup, creating a negative pressure which pulls the tissue into the cup. This method is believed to help decompress the layers of tissue (fascia and muscle) under the skin where the cup has been placed.

Cupping Techniques

Static on static

Cup(s) are placed and left on a single location over a body region that remains still/immobile. 

Dynamic on static

Cup(s) are moved over the region being treated, using a massage lotion or oil as a buffer. The body area being treated does not move.

Static on Dynamic

Cup is left stationary while the patient moves the body part through a partial or full range of motion. For example: a cup is placed and left stationary on the quadriceps (front of the thigh) while the patient bends and extends their knee. 

dynamic on dynamic

A combination of moving the cup(s) while the patient also simultaneously moves the body area being treated. 

All of these variations of cupping therapy are performed with the ultimate goal of decreasing pain, promoting mobility and improving function. 

So how about Graston Technique? The Graston Technique is an instrument assisted soft tissue technique where a stainless steel tool is used to apply mild to moderate scraping over previously injured tissues. Much like how a stethescope amplifies heart sounds, the Graston tool amplifies the texture of the tissues under the skin. As the provider applies sweeping movements with the tool over the skin, certain regions will feel "grittier" or more coarse than others. This often signifies that these particular regions are where soft tissue adhesions are located and may be the source of altered mobility or pain. 

These effective and safe treatment modalities may be applied as a stand alone intervention but are most often applied along with other treatment interventions such as joint manipulation / chiropractic adjustments, active or passive sports massage and myofascial release techniques and exercise. Cupping and Graston therapy may both be applied to the same treatment area in the same visit. Cupping and Graston are great for the treatment of lower back pain, neck and shoulder pain, foot pain like plantar fasciitis/fasciosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee pain and MUCH more. 

To find out if chiropractic care, dry needling, acupuncture or cupping/Graston are the right treatment(s) for you, call the office, email or schedule an appointment NOW!