I admire how easy it’s to propose therapeutic treatments. It’s tremendously simple to attribute mechanical effects to mechanical actions. Infallible to “validate” theoretically what one wants. Absolutely what one wants … uncritically, of course.

Once again, the mayor showcases therapies worldwide with the sole rigor of “the best elite athletes”, put in the mouth of all the latest therapies, this time with suction cupping therapy, nothing new.

In truth, it would be of little importance if it were something new, since that doesn’t attribute any special value (argumentum ad novitatem), as neither the fact it has more years than the sun (argumentum ad antiquitatem) or that athletes use it (a cousin brother of the ad crumenam argument, we might say), but in that troubled effort to “westernize” things by arguing physiological actions to therapies with myth-magical reasoning, we also legitimize the suction cups.

Why the scandal with the cupping? It’s nothing more than a hyper-heating action like many other techniques …

It’s that simple with that phrase we just accept for good anything that generates hyperthermia, for example a slap, a blow or scratch. Should it meet any requirements other than hyperemia? Or at least postulate with a mechanism of action based on neurophysiology, which is how we currently contemplate everything we do in manual therapy? Let us leave, for a moment, to the side of the origin of suction cups and the traditional use of folklore of some cultures, where blood was considered as a problem and solution for all evils. Let’s put aside the comparisons that we could literally do with bleeding and therapies of leeches that killed more people than were saved. Let us ignore the reasoning based on the Qi and strange energies and which is still in use today. Let’s make a gut heart to digest once more the occurrence of alternative therapies and do not fall into the easy attack of possible complications from wounds, infections, keloids, panniculitis, eczema, abscesses, anemias, hemorrhages and even the dissection of a vertebral artery at the literature.

And let us focus on the defense that the physiotherapists do for the rescue of the traditional oriental techniques saying that “we maintain what serves and we discard the fraud”. Because from the outset this may seem an interesting and fair idea, if it were not for the criterion of “what serves” is “what seems to me” and the justification of the mechanism of action has not yet been proven. . Change everything to change absolutely nothing. Just the language.

In the literature we find proposals for mechanisms of action such as adjustments of skin blood flow, biochemical changes in skin properties, adjustments of substance P; serum that increases the threshold of pain to pressure in some areas or restoration of sympathetic balance -vagal with the suction cups to mention only the applications in musculoskeletal pain, those that defend themselves from physiotherapeutic sectors.

Some physiotherapists defend this technique by focusing on the tissues.The suction doesn’t stop being a physical agent, and therefore competition of the physio. ” We remove the skin from the deep tissue¨ … not much different than what makes the round clamp (massage technique). “We remodel”, ” we release the fascial tissue” … We also torn some tissues, nothing happens, is the principle of the super modern and effective techniques such as transverse friction massage. Broken capillaries ?, phenomenon! … we started the natural process of healing the body … It is the physiotherapy of a lifetime, right? We remove knots, trigger points … we mold the body as if it were clay at our whim …

With this vision of physical therapy in life and changing the energies by fascias, ignoring the nervous system as responsible for clinical changes and saying “my technique is not worse than yours, and if not … prove it,” is frankly difficult waking up

It doesn’t matter if the best physiotherapist in the world has abandoned this mechanistic view of tissue.It doesn’t matter that more and more data dismantle structural causal relationships.It doesn’t matter the information that suggests that these supposed tissue changes, in the case of the fascia, are possible (I paste a translated fragment of this link where the references can be read)

The forces applied during manual treatment are not sufficient to cause lasting changes in human connective tissue, and the adhesions proposed to negatively influence joint movement can therefore be “broken up”, the many therapists claim.

It doesn’t matter how ridiculous it is, trying to justify a technique that makes hickeys .From here, join the courses, buy the suction cups or directly spend a million dollars on machines that make the vacuum for you and turn the patient into an energy source for worst robots like in the Matrix movie.

Even so, and despite the above, I will allow my personal opinion, about cupping therapy. I know them, I have used them and I think massage with cupping can be highly reflexogenic to help ease any back pain, I can see the sliding of the cupping therapy as a type of massage but leave them fixed and wait until the hickey works DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

Speak about adhesions and restrictions of tissue releases, when we have not even been able to demonstrate the side that hurts the patient by palpation of muscle tension, is a little daring.

So before using this therapy take a time to think about it!


Created by Rubén Tobar