Cupping / Rock Pods

Cupping is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice that involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. This practice dates back over 2,000 years but has received recent attention due to its use by world-class athletes for injury relief.

The cups used in cupping are typically made of bamboo, glass, or earthenware.

It’s believed that the effect of suction on the skin helps increase blood flow and promotes healing; however, the way in which cupping may have an effect on the body is unclear. A study in PLoS One researchers concluded that cupping could be effective in treating the pain and disability associated with chronic neck pain and chronic low-back pain in the short term.

Cupping is generally safe for healthy people when performed by one of our trained health professionals.

Some of the side effects like bruising and soreness are possible.

Ask your physical therapist how cupping might help you.

Cupping is a helpful alternative treatment for some. Please share your complete health history with your therapist and they will discuss the benefits and possible side effects of cupping to make sure it is right for you.


RockTape RockPods are a set of eight pumpless, easy-to-clean, medical-grade silicone pods (4 large, 4 small) packaged in a convenient carrying case. RockPods provide versatility and flexibility in skin and myofascial decompression (MFD) techniques for rehabilitation and sports performance applications. Cups can be applied and moved around on the body in a similar way as a traditional cupping session. They can also left in place on a patient's skin, as he or she goes through active or passive ranges of motion. This allows the patient to move freely while still receiving functional treatment.

RockPods are also an excellent screening tool. Physical therapists can use a wet or dry technique to place the cups onto their patients' skin and use the handle to move the cup along the skin to examine for internal and external fascial glide and restrictions.

Myofascial decompression is a blend of cupping and principles of tissue mobilization and myofascial release. RockPods allow physical therapists to precisely pinpoint and treat all areas of adhesions, trigger points and other skin or fascia restrictions that affect joint and soft tissue movement. The larger, black cups allow clinicians to grab and manipulate more tissue in larger areas, such as the back or legs, while the smaller red cups are for more sensitive or harder to reach areas, such as between the shoulder blades or on the arms.

A few practical applications of RockPods for skin and myofascial decompression include:

  • Releasing trigger points
  • Inhibiting hyperactive muscle contractions
  • Facilitating muscle contraction to help correct postural issues, gait and other movement problems
  • Targeting certain muscles by pulling them back into position to facilitate correct exercise position and form
  • Soft tissue mobilization
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