Fundamentals of Functional Cupping

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Fundamentals of Functional Cupping

CE Information: APPROVED

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Instructor: Pieter de Smidt, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, MTC, FMS-C

Course Length: 1 hour | Tuition: $19.99 or FREE for Elite Passport Members (learn more)

This is a livestream, interactive course.  The instructor will teach in real time and you will have the opportunity to ask and answer questions.



The utilization of IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization) tools in manual therapy has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years, especially in orthopedic and sports settings. Cupping is different than all other manual techniques, with or without instruments/tools. The negative pressure offers a distraction to the tissues, unlike the shearing that is present with stretching and other myofascial treatments.

There has traditionally been a gap in the literature for the appropriate dosage, timing, and frequency for the proper application of cupping for musculoskeletal problems. This course will teach you the efficacy of cupping as a treatment, how cupping fits in to your manual therapy toolset, and various tools and techniques used for cupping. Through discussions of pain science, BPS model and contraindications for cupping you will finish this course with improved knowledge and skills in the evidence-informed treatment of musculoskeletal movement disorder with cupping therapy.


  • Review the principles of myofascial cupping and supporting evidence.
  • Describe the physiological and neurological effects of cupping.
  • Understand how pain science education and the BPS model relate to cupping therapy
  • Compare and contrast common cupping techniques and review indications/contraindications for each.


  1. Course Objectives (5 minutes)
  2. What is cupping and how does it work (15 minutes)
    1. History
    2. Key Principles of cupping, including
      1. Mechanical effect versus Neurophysiological effect
      2. Metabolic and enzymatic responses
      3. Pain science education and BPS model
    3. Efficacy and research for cupping
  3. Different types of cupping and equipment (15 minutes)
    1. Static
    2. Dynamic
    3. How to add patient movement
    4. Dosage of cupping
  4. Indications for cupping (10 minutes)
    1. Goals for cupping treatment
      1. Reduce pain
      2. Improve tissue extensibility
    2. Contra-Indications for cupping (10 minutes)
    3. Research and Summary (5 minutes)