Pamela Stephenson PT
Cupping & Tissue Distraction
The practice of cupping has been used for thousands of years and continues to be a common medical intervention in traditional Chinese medicine. The latest systematic review on cupping concludes that, to date, there is only low quality evidence indicating that cupping may be effective for reducing musculoskeletal pain. However, studies to date have only investigated static cupping techniques. Conversely, the novel cupping technique of Tissue Distraction Release with Movement (TDR-WM) involves the gliding of the cups in various directions while the patient simultaneously actively moves the relevant joint and tissues underneath the cup. During TDR-WM, the negative pressure inside the cup literally lifts and separates the tissue underneath the cup; the addition of active movement of the tissues while the cup is applied may further assist the release of the interfaces between the soft-tissues such as skin, fascia, neural tissues, muscles, ligaments and tendons. TDR-WM techniques have been clinically observed to be particularly effective in soft-tissue conditions where physical therapy treatments have classically focused on tissue compression. Since TDR-WM is a novel concept, no studies have yet been performed on this approach for the management of myofascial pain. However, based on clinical experience, patients with persistent myofascial conditions have shown resolution of their symptoms following only a single session of TDR-WM.