How Cupping Therapy Can Improve Your Scar
“Cupping” massage therapy is a technique that has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine but is relatively new to Western practice. It involves placing a cup made of glass or plastic directly on the skin and creating a negative pressure vacuum with a suction device. This helps bring blood flow and nutrition to the area being treated and is also useful in myofascial release.
Women’s health physical therapists often utilize cupping when treating scars from Cesarean birth. The cup can more effectively grip and lift the scar tissue and prevent it from adhering to deeper tissue layers. Scar mobilization is crucial in recovering from Cesarean birth, and most new mothers are never properly instructed in both the importance of scar massage or how to perform it themselves. Cupping is usually done over the course of several sessions in order to restore normal tissue mobility, and your therapist will instruct you in self-massage techniques to use at home to maintain the gains made in therapy.
What to expect at your first cupping massage session?
-Your therapist will first assess your soft tissues manually to identify the areas that will benefit from treatment.
-Your therapist will then place cups over the area to be treated, one at a time. The number of cups used will vary based on surface area to be treated. Lotion will be used at the base of the cups to help create a strong seal to the skin.
-The cups may be uncomfortable, and you might feel a burning sensation for the first 30 seconds or so that the cup is in place. Some patients feel nothing at all! Often the more restricted your tissues are, the more uncomfortable the first cupping session will be.
-Your therapist may do static cupping, dynamic cupping, or a combination of both during treatment. Static means that once the cup is placed, it is left there for several minutes. Dynamic means that the therapist will slide the cup along your skin for several minutes.
-After the session, the areas treated may feel mildly sore when pressed, like a bruise. You may have red marks on your skin for a day or two afterwards, but this fades quickly and is no cause for concern.
-Your therapist will instruct you to drink plenty of water after your session to help flush out inflammatory cells released during treatment, and you should notice immediate improvement in the mobility of your tissues.
To find out more about how “cupping” massage therapy may benefit you, feel free to schedule a 30-minute free consultation with one of our physical therapists.
Writing by Genevieve Tatara DPT – women’s health/pelvic floor specialist (Evie is available to see patients at our Lewes, Delaware and Ocean City, MD office.)