cupping massage therapy portland oregon

Once an injury or surgery has visibly healed, you may have the impression that you are 100% back to normal. You may think you can resume doing all the things you used to do. However, scar tissue often develops after surgery, fractures, or sprains and strains. The collagen that naturally develops in your skin is interrupted during an injury and re-forms randomly, creating scar tissue in the dermis, and in or around muscles. We want to offer people who may be suffering from loss of movement a successful, cost effective, and enjoyable options to treat and eliminate scar tissue. 

Scar Tissue Can Cause Atrophy

When scar tissue forms in or around your muscles, the two tissues are similar to being intertwined and stuck in a spider’s web. The movement feels either sticky, clicky or limited. The soft tissue around the site of the injury is trapped and cannot fully move. When tissue cannot rest in its natural state, the tissue atrophies over time.

Using the most effective massage therapy techniques, you can break up and heal areas where the scar tissue has formed post-injury. It is essential in remodeling the affected area and promoting proper healing and nourishment to the muscles.

Myofascial Release Is Step 1

We prepare the tissue and open it up first to access a more stable tissue posture. Myofascial release can change long-held patterns in the body and reset the congested tissues that have been stuck like cling wrap around your muscles. A true myofascial release massage therapist expert will use their hands to feel for the underlying, non-visible scar tissue and get deep into the myofascial layer to stimulate blood flow. 

We can carefully loosen the “cling wrap” even if it has been there a long time. These techniques mean the massage may be a little different and the traction on the tissue will be held for longer periods of time. Similar to a long stretch, you may feel like we are peeling back the layers. It feels good and puts the body into a very calm parasympathetic state.

Cupping Combined With Myofascial Release Is The Most Effective Step 2

Cupping using silicone cups, air cups (a harder plastic) or fire cups can be added to your massage therapy session. This Eastern medicine technique uses cups to grip the skin in a pressure vacuum, also known as negative pressure. The suction lifts the skin and scar tissue more effectively than most licensed massage therapists can do with their hands. It directs blood flow to that specific area preventing more scar tissue from forming. It also breaks up the existing scar tissue and keeps it from adhering to the deeper layers of healthy tissue. You may begin to feel the difference in just one session or over several sessions. 

Pairing myofascial release with cupping can help free your joints and surrounding tissue, significantly reducing pain and inflammation. As a teacher, I suggest that massage therapists begin with one area and see how the client responds. The day after the treatment sometimes people can feel sore, tired, or just a little sleepy. There will be imprints that will typically look red and may fade very quickly, while some cupping marks last as long as two weeks. We find that people love to show off their cupping or “octopus” marks to all of their friends and family. Cupping was popularized in the last two Olympics and we clearly saw the temporary tattoos on all the swimmers. We find that most people see those cupping circles as an athletic badge of honor.  

Often Includes Deep tissue in Step 3

Similarly, deep tissue is a classic method to break up scar tissue, as the deep, sustained pressure targets layer after layer of muscle. Deep tissue massage promotes blood flow and breaks up patterns of adhesions that often accompany scar tissue build-up. Pairing deep tissue with some classic sports massage techniques can be especially helpful, as the increase in temperature from the quick motions of this style also helps to break down scar tissue.

What To Expect After Cupping Therapy

Do not apply heat or ice as the tissue needs time to heal on its own. Wait 24-hours to sit in a hot bath if possible but a shower is fine. Do not apply any topical minty or fragrant oils or gels. The tissue needs time to heal and reset..It will look like a bruise for some and it will just fade within 1-3 days. Silicone cups are a good way to first experience cupping and it is less likely to cause red marks. It has proven to be very effective in transforming and changing scar tissue patterns. 

After Years Of Success With Cupping 

We now know that we can often fully rehabilitate with much higher success rates. The feedback from our patients tells us that cupping is an extremely popular and healing treatment and to continue to offer this service to all that seek care for their restrictions in their body. Addressing scar tissue concerns with different massage methods combined with cupping methods can be one of the most effective ways to fully rehabilitate an injury and get remarkable results. 

Massage Therapists and Cupping 

Most of our therapists are trained in advanced cupping therapy. Always request and remind your therapist that you are interested in cupping or would like to continue more cupping as part of your therapy. We offer cupping as part of our sessions and are careful to always ask before we use this technique.

Verbal Permission And Cupping

No massage therapist should ever just do a technique such as this without your permission. We like all of our customers to be a part of the healing process. We have heard time and time again that a LMT at another center just did this cupping technique and did not mention that it might leave a temporary red mark. The downside is that they may be part of a wedding or some event where they might not want these suction imprints to show. We feel that we should all respect each other’s boundaries and make sure we have the same goals as the people we are working with. Everyone should have a choice of their type of therapy. 

Our center is here to serve you with the most advanced massage therapy even on Sundays. We are one of the few centers that is open every day of the week. Our goal is to serve the community that does not have the ability to break away during the work week. 

We look forward to working with you soon! 

Give us a call or contact us to find the best massage therapist for you and your personal needs!

Written by: Clare Katner, LMT