A demonstration of cupping techniques using RockPods.

Sponsored by RockTape

Cupping is not a new therapeutic modality.

This ancient method of soft-tissue intervention has been traced back to one of oldest medical textbooks in history, The Ebers Papyrus, written in 1550 BC, which describes Egyptians’ use of cupping techniques. That’s pretty old!

Apparently, even ‘ol Hippocrates was into using cups for “internal disease and structural problems” for the folks in Ancient Greece.

For centuries, cultures around the world have used cupping in a variety of ways, as a means of therapeutic and medical intervention.

Benefits of Cupping Therapy

Practitioners of cupping know that cupping therapy helps relieve pain, improve circulation, dispel stagnant blood and lymph, improve energetic flow, and even serve as a method to treat (when within scope of practice) such conditions as respiratory disease, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Ranging from bamboo cups, animal horns, bronze and pottery to glass, plastic and silicone, cupping tools have evolved over time. The theories behind the methods, however, haven’t deviated much from tradition—until recently, that is.

Deeply rooted in ancient practices often tied to religious beliefs, cupping has been mostly viewed as the “red-headed stepchild with no scientific validity” in the eyes of modern, Western medical science for, well, pretty much ever.

However, with the medical lens having recently broadened to consider fascial and neuroanatomy of the dermal and fascial subsystem, the cup might actually be looking half full versus half empty.

As a community of soft- tissue clinical therapists, we’re inundated with a plethora of education, certifications, modalities and techniques that promise to leave our clients moving and feeling better.

Cupping techniques are no exception—so why should cupping be something you would even consider adding to your practice?

A Different Approach to Cupping Techniques

Enter RockTape’s RockPods; a silicone cupping toolkit and educational system that takes a different approach to an ancient method that sucks (on purpose).

A demonstration of cupping techniques using RockPods.

Here are three reasons to add RockPods to your practice:

1. RockPods are both a screening and treatment method. I’ve talked about the value and necessity of developing an effective screening method in a number of my articles. If you don’t know how to effectively screen and apply the information you get from screening, you can get lost in the maze of chasing pain and symptoms.

In the case of RockPods, I can actually use them as part of my screening method when examining internal and external fascial glide and restrictions.

By placing the cup on the skin of my client, I can use the handle to move the cup in a variety of vectors to get a feel for what might be happening underneath the surface, all while using decompression versus compression.

Once I establish my assessment, I can then use either a wet or dry technique to address my findings.

2. RockPods offer neural input. While cupping offers a very pinpointed effect on the tissue of direct application, it behooves us to look a little deeper and wider.

Consider the broader neural effect of this decompression and how it communicates with the brain as well as its global effect on myofascial chains throughout the system.

As we apply decompression, we communicate with the neuroanatomy of the fascial subsystems that directly impact proprioception, the perception of pain and, as a result, movement.

3. RockPods support movement re-education. One of my favorite aspects of using RockPods with my clients is their versatility and functionality during movement sessions.

By leaving the RockPods in place while going through active or passive ranges of motion, we can impart both neural and tangible affect to the fascial layers—and to the brain attached to them!

This method of treatment can improve pain modulation during movement, internal and external fascial glide, and proprioceptive experience, while training new movement patterns. Clients can move freely during their session while still receiving functional treatment.

RockTape’s RockPods are a game-changer for any practitioner looking to add therapeutic methods that are efficient, easy to implement, effective and travel-friendly.

As with any new treatment method, get educated first. Register for a RockPods & RockFloss class. It’s definitely an investment in your education that doesn’t suck.

About the Author

Stacey Thomas, LMT, SFMA, FMS, NKT, ART, CF-L2, has been a movement specialist since 1997, and licensed as a sports massage therapist since 2005. You can find her teaching a of ROCKTAPE (rocktape.com) class, speaking at national massage conventions or camping with her dog, Charlie.

About RockTape

RockTape is a global leader in sports medicine products and education. Located in Silicon Valley, RockTape helps patients and athletes “go stronger, longer” with the world’s best kinesiology tape, powerful pain-relieving topicals, unique evidence-informed education seminars, mobility tools, and joint support accessories.