Top 6 FAQ’s about Cupping – AKA: Octopus Marks | Physical Therapy for everyBODY
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Top 6 FAQ’s about Cupping – AKA: Octopus Marks


Here at Physical Therapy for everyBODY, we offer a special form of cupping that’s called Myofascial Decompression. You may have seen those round circles on the shoulders of Olympic swimmers? Yep, that’s what we’re talking about here.

Many people can benefit from this form of treatment. Have you ever felt like your joint is just “stuck” or you can’t move your muscle the way you should? Chances are you have some stickiness in your fascia.

So, what is fascia? Have you ever tried to pull the fat off a raw steak? You know that stringy thick stuff that holds the fat onto the meat? Well, that is fascia! And, you have fascia literally from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. 

You may have heard of the most infamous fascia - the iliotibial band (IT band). This is a thickened piece of fascia that runs down the outside of your thigh. It’s an especially thick (and troublesome!) band which is why it is so well known.

Or, maybe you have heard of a condition called plantar fasciitis? This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia which is located on the bottom of your foot. It makes walking REALLY painful.

When the fascia in your body gets tight, it can cause all kinds of problems. If we are recommending cupping for you then we feel that YOUR fascia is causing some of YOUR problems.

You probably have questions about this treatment so we created this to help answer our most common questions. As always, if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask!

1.  Will it hurt? 

YES! But, not hurt like your pain hurts. It feels weird to basically stick a bunch of suction cups on your body and then try to move. This is where the decompression part comes in. The cups help to decompress, or lift, the skin and fat allowing the fascia underneath to get more blood flow. As we say, "the more it hurts, the more you need it".

We will be checking in with you along the way to make sure that you are tolerating the treatment well.  As always, you are in control. Make sure that you communicate if you feel that something just isn’t right. 

After the treatment you should feel improved ease with your movement - which makes the pain worth it!

2. Will it leave a mark?

YES! Remember those Olympic swimmers? The color you see demonstrates the stagnation of fluids and blood flow in that area. Although we don’t rely on color to tell us the entire story it

usually points to areas where the blood flow is stagnant. Which means these areas are very sticky and need help to be able to achieve regular blood flow.

We encourage you to think of the mark like a bruise which is basically what it is. The decompression lifts the tissues which stretches them in a new way. Yes, this is the way that your body was intended to move but sometimes it forgets how to move correctly. The marks will fade as the body heals the area and can last between 7-14 days.

And just think of the awesome story you can tell about how you fought off the octopus!

3. Why do I need this?

This form of cupping allows us to literally “lift” the tissues up to allow for more blood flow. More blood flow = improved healing. And, this means you are getting back to activities you love doing. Which is what we are focused on. 

Our #1 core value is: Movement Is Life. Just like your joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons need to move correctly, your fascia also needs to be moving to allow for normal healing. In fact, fascia covers all the structures listed above and can keep THEM from moving normally in your body. This is why we need to get that fascia moving and restore normal blood flow. So, all the structures can move correctly to get you back to living a life you enjoy.

4. What can I expect the next day?

Just like any bruise it may be sore to the touch.  You may notice improved motion in the area treated which is the goal. However, this can lead to the area feeling a little “loosey goosey”. In fact, one of our patients said that he felt “light headed in his leg”. Never fear, we are here to help you retrain your muscles after the cupping session to ensure you walk out feeling better than when you walked in.

5. Is it safe to exercise afterwards?

Please do! Exercise will help to improve the blood flow to the area that was treated which will improve your healing times. We also like to have people get out and use that new motion they just gained. Feel free to enjoy all of your favorite activities after your session

6. Do I use ice or heat for soreness after treatment?

Great question! Some people experience tenderness where the marks or bruises are and find that using ice or heat can help to decrease the tenderness.

Other people find that the marks don’t bother them and don’t need any home remedies to decrease their symptoms.

Either way, we ask that you wait 2 hours after your treatment to allow for optimal results before using ice or heat. In this case you get to choose if you prefer ice or heat. In general, ice works better to decrease pain.

If you have a topical cream that you love using to reduce swelling you can also feel free to use that after the 2 hour mark.

Again, you may not feel the need for any follow up of ice, heat, or creams which is fine. If you feel like you would like to use them then we just ask you to wait until 2 hours after your treatment.

Do you find yourself feeling “stuck” and like you can’t move normally? Have you tried chiropractic, massage, and exercise and just don’t feel like things are moving correctly? Then cupping, specifically Myofascial Decompression, may be just the answer for you. Remember, fascia literally covers our body from head to toe. Getting the fascia moving correctly can help improve the motion in those sticky spots in your body.

If you have questions regarding cupping and if it’s right for you, then we encourage you to sign up for a Free Discovery Visit. During this visit we will listen to your story, answer all your questions, and see if we are a good fit for you. This no obligation appointment is designed to help you make the best decisions regarding your body.

We look forward to helping you move better at Physical Therapy for everyBODY!


Because Movement Is Life!

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Struggling with pain and dysfunction can impact every part of our lives — it drains our energy, distracts us from our goals, and keeps us from the people and activities we love. As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Dr. Amy Konvalin understands how frustrating those limitations can be — and she knows how to help get you back to the life you want to live! Beginning with a focused evaluation, Dr. Amy works to determine the root causes of your pain, as well as understanding how it affects the way you move through your world. Dysfunctional patterns of movement often grow worse with time and cause further damage if left untreated — so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Dr. Amy knows there is no one-size-fits-all plan for success, and she partners with patients to identify their unique treatment goals and personal values. Using these goals as a guide, Amy uses her doctorate training in manual (hands-on) therapy and exercise prescription to treat patients with a wide variety of medical challenges and histories throughout the Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Covington areas. Dr. Amy is also a wife to a Boeing superstar/former C-130 navigator. While they lived in Germany, Dr. Amy was able to volunteer with the US Army to treat military personnel and civilians on base. She has two beautiful teenage ballerinas who keep her on her toes and educate her on all things ballet! Bailey, the princess pup, is her running partner and her napping partner. In the spare moments in between, Amy enjoys reading, yoga, wine with friends, Pilates, and walking on the beach.
Dr. Amy Konvalin

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