Self-cupping for release of the low back, hip and IT bands Leave a comment

by John Stan  – 

Low back, hip and IT band issues are frequent problems practitioners deal with day-to-day. Many times, our patients present with tissues that have become extremely compressed and adhered. More than an hour of daily treatment by a practitioner would be required to decompress, restore and hydrate tissues to the point where adjustments and treatments hold. Most patients can not afford such a frequent treatment plan and thus some compromise of reduced treatment is made, resulting in a less-than-optimal treatment plan. As an additional support, many practitioners have encouraged patients to do self-care treatments with foam rollers and other compressive-type tools with some success. With the development of silicone cups, practitioners now have an entirely new set of tools for relieving pain and promoting fascial health.

As a passionate advocate of self-cupping, I have taught several patients to perform their own tissue conditioning of the low back and hip with the large size Fascia Buddy Silicone Cup. A significant number of patients have reported back that they have had additional and more lasting relief in between treatments.  On top of that, my treatments have had more of a “wow” effect. I hypothesize that I am getting better outcomes because the decompressive therapy offered by the Fascia Buddy flushes and rehydrates tissues, relieving irritated nerve receptors. Edema, whether “micro” (fluid retention in the nerve bundles, small compartments and around scars) or “trophic” (fluid retention in generalized tissues) is now recognized as a significant contributor to stubborn pains. Fascia Buddy silicone cups, used both professionally and at home as a self-care program, can help to move these stagnant fluids to liberate fascia and restore tissue health.

I have compiled a 5-step low back, hip and IT self-care treatment protocol with Fascia Buddy Silicone Cup for patients. Altogether, this protocol should take only 5 minutes and can be recommended for patients with low back, hip and IT pain. It is also a great non-drug option for pregnant women with increasing back pain during their last trimester. For ease of sharing this protocol with patients we will be including this as a handout available on request when ordering a Large Fascia Buddy Silicone Cup. Say goodbye to foam rollers and hello to Fascia Buddy!

Five-minute Low back, Hip and IT band Self-Care Release using the Large Fascia Buddy Silicone Cup

Fascia-Buddy-Diagram-1 Note:  Before proceeding, please read the insert found in the Fascia Buddy kit to familiarize yourself with the basic principles of self-cupping. Remember, you can control the amount of suction generated by the cups. Always choose a level of compression that provides a fairly strong pull without causing intense pain.

Step 1: Apply an appropriate massage oil over the low back, buttock and IT band area. An alternative and convenient method is to do the all these steps in the shower. If choosing to perform these techniques in the shower, wet the area and then soap up the low back, hip and IT band with a creamy soap. Apply the cup to the mid-back using both hands. Use your fingers as shown in image 1 to compress the top of the cup while holding the cup in position with the thumbs.  

Fascia-Buddy-Diagram-2Using both hands move the cup in pattern “A” over the low back area in the circular motion indicated in image 2 for 1 minute. Then perform pattern “B” across the back on one side first for 30 seconds and then the other side for an additional 30 seconds.

Step 2: Release the cup and apply the cup to the side of the hip as indicated in images 3 and 4 by clipping the bottom edge of the cup with the fingers, and then apply the top edge to side of hip and press with the heel of the palm to create suitable suction.




Then move the cup from the side of the hip down and up over the left buttock as indicated in image 5 for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side 30 seconds.



Step 3: Return cup to the side of the hip and re-apply as indicated in images 3 and 4. Then follow the movement patterns in image 6 along the glutes and the IT band for 30 seconds, traveling down the side of of the leg and then returning up again, back and forth, on one side. Repeat for 30 seconds on the other side.

Step 4:
 Take cup and apply as in image 3 and 4 then slide it over to top of hip arch and then slide over the gluteus muscle to point A at which point start circling down the side of leg (as shown in image 7). Once you reach the top of the knee, return the same manner up the side of the leg in a circular pattern to the top of the leg and then over the glute to the top of the hip arch. Then repeat, as indicated in image 7. Repeat on the other side. 

Fascia-Buddy-Diagram-7Step 5: Take the cup and place the Fascia Buddy cup on any point of restriction in the low back using the method shown in image 1. Once the cup is in place, perform gentle movements, like walking around, moving your hips left and right, front and back, do little hip circles and small bends all at to the place of comfort for 60 seconds. If you are performing this in the shower, just complete your shower with the cup in position as the gentle movements that you do while showering will stimulate tissues while the Fascia Buddy is in place. Remove cup and repeat daily to condition your connective tissues and promote healthy circulation in the low back, hips and IT band.

Note: As you move the cup over the areas indicated, some areas may become tight and provide some discomfort. This is an indicator of where you connective tissue may be binding. Simply decompress the cup, then re-apply again with less pressure and continue on with the process. You will find after repeated passes and days that you will be able to increase the pressure created by the Fascia Buddy. These are all signs of healthy progression.




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