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Tight shoulders and back after a long surf? This is for you!

Brought to you by Rocktape Australia

Cupping as a therapy has been around for thousands of years. It is used by many soft tissue therapists as another tool to help their clients with pain and tightness. Surfers, with the repetitive load of paddling can certainly get quite tight in the shoulder regions as well as in the low back.  But what is it all about?

Traditionally in Chinese Medicine, the cups are applied to areas of the body with “stagnation” of Qi and it was thought that the suction pressure was able to draw toxins from the body.  Some therapists still use this technique of applying the cups to the body and leaving them in place for up to 15 minutes.  This will usually result in the circular bruises that people are familiar with, either having experienced it themselves, or having seen someone at the pool or beach who has!!  There was quite a commotion at the Rio Olympics when US swimmer Michael Phelps took to the starting blocks with the tell-tale bruising marks from cupping. Social Media went into meltdown with some people claiming cupping was a load of bulldust, through to those that vehemently defended the practice. Even this year, cupping bruises were visible on a number of AFL players such as Patrick Cripps from Carlton, so the elite athletes/therapists continue to use cupping despite a lack of research into the mechanisms and benefits.

We believe that cupping simply provides an alternative form of soft tissue treatment that is not necessarily any better or worse overall than traditional forms of treatment (eg massage, foam rollers, spikey balls etc) but for some people it is more effective. Cupping creates a decompressive force in the tissues immediately under the cup.  This suction force creates a different stimulus to the tissues and the nervous system compared with the compressive/squashing pressures of most other soft tissue techniques.  We don’t believe that the bruising component is necessary or desirable, and as such, tend to apply the RockPods for only 2-3 minutes at a time.  Ideally in this time, the person would then move the body part with exercise so that the tissues are sliding underneath the stationary Pod, rather than just be a static suction force as we believe this is a better way to get tight areas to relax and painful areas to be relieved. To this end, we are not treating stagnation or toxins, but simply applying a negative pressure to the tissues which imparts a localised upwards mechanical force.

Varying levels of suction force can be achieved with the Pods- from a light suction by simply squeezing the sides as it is applied, to a moderate level using the inbuilt plunger, to the maximum level achieved by inverting the cup on itself and then applying to the desired spot.  Depending on the level of suction applied, the body part it is applied to and the length of time it is applied for, some people may be still be prone to bruising so care ought to be taken initially to start with less suction/less time and build these up as tolerance is proven. Despite making a great picture for social media, the Pods should not be applied to the face as bruising will definitely occur!!!

Target areas for surfers are typically the shoulders, necks, upper and lower backs. On a recent boat trip in the Maldives, the Pods became a very popular self-treatment tool for these areas and at the end of a surf day, the Pods had a habit of being applied even before the first beer was poured!!

RockPods are easy and safe to apply to yourself- really no different to using a foam roller or spikey ball.  They come as a set of 8 Pods- 4 larger black Pods and 4 smaller red Pods.  They are made of silicone so easy to clean, perfect to transport and taking a couple on your next surf trip will definitely help you to Go Stronger, Longer!

Find out more here

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