Cupping is a soft tissue treatment done by Dr. Brett Murray of Reset Chiropractic of Claremore.
"Soft tissue encompasses a huge part of my practice. Adjusting is always important but what I find is that soft tissue is actually the main pain culprit most of the time," Murray said. "In working with soft tissue, cupping is one of the tools I use."
Of this technique, he said, "It lifts the tissue into the cup and we hold it there. We try to lengthen the tissue while the cup is on there. It lifts the fascia and tissue and stretches it at the same time."
More often than not, Murray said he has to explain fascia to his patients.
"Fascia is kind of a spiderweb material in between our skin and the rest of our tissue underneath, and there are plains of it. So the fascia on the bottom of your foot attaches to the back of your head. That's kind of what I manipulate or try to change in somebody," he said. "Mild fascia decompression, like cupping, is really good for trigger points or tinder points—areas of the tissue that are dysfunctioning, not working correctly or limiting the range of motion of somebody's shoulder, neck, ankle, anything like that."
Murray said, "Limits the blood flow to that tissue, when it comes off there is a bit of bruising, then the body starts the healing process. Everything I do is playing on what the body does naturally. So we blast the capillary beds trying to rejuvenate the tissue that is dysfunctional."
Rejuvenating the tissue, he said, is the main goal.
But that's just one part of the process.
"On top of that we apply the adjustment. For example, someone that has forward head posture will need adjusting to help their cervical curve. Then I give them ergonomic and exercise material to make sure that while the body is healing that tissue that we don't go back to the way it was," he said.
Through everything, Murray focuses on movement.
"For example, I had a patient come in today that does martial arts and fighting. If somebody has a range of motion issue. In his instance he has to side bend to kick, so he was having issues with his left lower back," he said. "We mimic the movement of pain. I had him bend laterally and I treat the muscle during the painful movement."
Murray describes himself as a movement doctor, saying everything he does is focuses on the way a body can, and should, move and how to improve the longevity of a person's joints.
"I don't take x-rays. A lot of treatment plans in chiropractor's offices are based off x-rays. But a static picture, without movement, doesn't show you enough… What I do is called selective functional movement assessment. It's a break-out pattern," Murray explained. "A squat is a great example. Everybody was able to squat when they were a baby. That's something that you shouldn't lose, but you do after learning or gaining strength. Your body loses the ability to do it based on other demands going on. Building long-term care plans based on a static image is not realistic. We are movement doctors."
Whether it's cupping, or any of a host of techniques Murray uses, the goal is the same—figure out what's wrong, eliminate the problem, give the person tools to prevent it from returning and send them on their way.