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Myofascial Cupping

Myofascial cupping is a soft tissue therapy that encourages healing by creating a negative pressure or suction on the skin using plastic or glass cups that pull up underlying tissues, blood, and other fluids close to the surface of the skin.

Other types of cupping include wet cupping and fire cupping. The NHPC does not support wet cupping because it involves making small lacerations in its application. 

Myofascial cupping does not use scalpels or needles.


While many assume that cupping originated in China with traditional Chinese medicine, the earliest records of cupping date back to Egypt in 1550 BC, where it was mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus. Egyptians are believed to have introduced it to the Greeks around 400 BC.

The earliest recorded use of cupping in Asian medical systems dates back to a Taoist alchemist and herbalist who lived from 281 to 341 AD. Eventually, cupping was spread to the Americas and to Europe.

Cupping has increased in popularity and is used as an integrative therapy in modern medicine. Myofascial cupping is often incorporated into other manual therapy techniques such as massage therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and other injury rehabilitation techniques.


A myofascial cupping treatment uses a combination of massage strokes and negative pressure to lift, separate, and stretch underlying soft tissues. Cupping is typically applied on the neck, shoulders, back, sacrum, hip, abdomen, thigh, calves, and upper arms.

Areas of musculoskeletal tension or congestion are located using massage techniques, and cups may be applied on an affected area and moved over the surface in a gliding motion, or possibly put on a fascial adhesion or trigger point for a short time to reduce or eliminate it.

Myofascial cupping uses cups made of glass or plastic; some have soft squeezable bulbs at one end and some can be attached to a machine or manual pump that creates the suction.

These methods avoid the danger of using heat and fire to depressurize the cups. Cupping procedures may leave light to dark red marks on the skin that disappear in 5 to 10 days.


Myofascial cupping can help treat soft tissue conditions and musculoskeletal tension, pain, and common sporting injuries. It can also create relaxation by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.


A level of training that includes every competency component needed to safely and appropriately apply the treatment.


An additional treatment that first requires the practitioners to be trained in an appropriate related discipline.