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Myofascial Decompression (MFD), otherwise known as ‘cupping’ is a form of soft tissue mobilization. The proper name for ‘cupping’ in western medicine is myofascial decompression or negative pressure soft tissue mobilization. Most soft tissue mobilizations (what people refer to as massage) are compressive in nature, meaning you push down on the soft tissue to release it. Myofascial decompression creates a negative pressure that ‘decompresses’ and lifts the underlying soft tissues to release it. It is the only type of therapy that has this lift.

MFD has its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been around for thousands of years. TCM focuses on ‘qi’ or energy and meridians or energy pathways of the body. Areas of dysfunction relate to areas of qi stagnation. TCM focuses on unblocking stagnation. Application of cupping under TCM yields a deep, purple bruise. The darker the color of the bruise, the more unblocking of a stagnant area of qi and blood flow.

MFD has integrated TCM with western philosophies. It focuses on anatomy, movement patterns and neuromuscular re-education. MFD targets mechanical tissue change, trigger points, scar tissue, and postural issues. The goal of its application is to release tight tissues, improve fluid flow, reduce pain and restore motion.

ActiveCare physical therapists have practiced myofascial decompression since 2014. This type of therapy is becoming more mainstream after being viewed on elite athletes in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. MFD is applicable to both athletes and the normal layperson. It can help with rehabilitating injuries, post-surgical cases, postural syndromes and general musculoskeletal pain

If you’re interested in scheduling a Myofascial or “Cupping” session, email us at or call us (212) 777-4374


To watch an application of this therapy, please click on the link below.