Myofascial Release Vs Cupping | Which is Better?

Myofascial Release (MFR) and Cupping are two popular manual therapy techniques used to alleviate muscle tension, improve range of motion, and promote relaxation.

They work on the same principle – Manipulating the soft tissues to allow them to stretch and relax. But have different techniques and outcomes.

The primary difference between myofascial release and cupping is “Myofascial release involves applying gentle pressure and stretching to release tension in the fascia, while cupping involves using cups that create a vacuum effect to lift and separate the skin and underlying muscles”.

You may have several questions in mind about these techniques – the difference between myofascial release and cupping, Is cupping the same as myofascial release? Which one is best for you? Etc., We will discuss everything in this article, read on!

Difference Between Myofascial Release and Cupping

Whether you want to ease knots or general relaxation is your preference, myofascial release, and cupping have proven benefits. However, when it comes to toss-up which one is best for you, there are several factors you should consider—for instance, the technique, purpose, frequency, cost, etc.,

Let me compare MFR and Cupping for each of the important factors mentioned above so that it will be easy for you to make a decision.

1. Purpose

1. Purpose of Cupping and MFR


Myofascial release helps to ease your pain. The main purpose of MFR is to release tight areas, reduce inflammation and decompressed nerves, and treat physical traumas and scarring.

You can consider MFR in the following conditions.

  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Headaches  
  • Chronic Migraine
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Backache 
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder


The main purpose of cupping therapy is to release tension knots,  reduce inflammation and pain and stimulate the natural healing process by supplying nutrient-rich blood to the affected area.

You can get the best results from cupping in the following conditions. 

  • Skin infections, including eczema 
  • Blood disorders like anemia 
  • Arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Breathing problems like asthma
  • Hypertension 
  • Headache and Migraine
  • Backache, Knee pain, Neck pain, and Shoulder pain 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

2. Technique

3. Technique used in Myofascial Release and Cupping


Localizing the pain is an uphill battle, so the therapists first feel the tightened area during myofascial release. Then gradually apply deep and small strokes by hand. Then, sustained manual pressure and stretching for 90 seconds per muscle group. You can also use a foam roller or massage ball for this purpose. 

Tools required for MFR: 

  • Foam Roller 
  • Massage Ball


In contrast, the technique used in cupping therapy is to create negative pressure by applying suction cups. These cups are made up of glass or silicon. There are two types of cupping, i.e., dry and wet cupping.  

Dry Cupping: 

A rubber pump creates a vacuum inside the cup during dry cupping. The blood vessels expand, causing redness and swelling, which are removed after a few minutes.

Wet Cupping: 

In wet cupping, a mild suction is performed for 3 minutes, then the cup is removed, and tiny cuts are made with the help of a small scalpel. After that, the second suction is performed to draw some blood, which helps remove toxins. 

It’s better to get 5-6 cups during the first session. After that, apply antibiotic ointment and bandages to prevent infection. Your skin takes almost 10 days to return to normal. 

Tools Required for Cupping: 

  • Sections Cups 
  • Suction Gun 
  • Bandage 

3. Frequency

One of the common questions that most of my clients ask is “How often do I need to visit a therapist for myofascial release or cupping?”. Let me answer.

Depending upon the condition and underlying cause, the MFR should be performed for 4-12 weeks. You can get weekly or bi-weekly sessions.

Cupping can be performed once a month for three consecutive months, depending on the extent of the problem. Normally, each session takes 15-25 minutes. You can also perform cupping daily at home after consulting your therapist.

4. Geographic Popularity 

With the advancement of science, alternative medicine therapy has become a popular treatment protocol for chronic conditions. Myofascial release is commonly practiced in Europe, UK, Italy, and Asia. People also take sessions for general well-being at vacation spots like Bali, Thailand, and Malaysia. 

From ancient times, cupping therapy was commonly practiced in China, Greece, Egypt and India. Nowadays, cupping has become trendy in the United States and Europe too. People from Arab countries also prefer cupping over medical treatment. 

5. Convenience

There are special centers where professionals perform myofascial release and cupping. But you can also perform both therapies at home under the guidance of a therapist. However, I recommend you get it done at therapy centers as far as possible. 

6. Cost

Price of MYOFASCIAL RELEASE  vs Cupping

On average, therapy centers 140$-160$ per hour for one session of myofascial release. The cupping is a budget-friendly option as it costs 50$-100$ per session140$-160$ per hour. 

7. Outcome 

As already mentioned, localizing the trigger points is an uphill battle, and myofascial release helps to win this battle by releasing trigger points and improving circulation and flexibility.

Cupping helps in overall well-being by removing toxins and supplying nutrient-rich blood to the body. 

Cupping Vs Myofascial Release [Comparison Summary]

PURPOSETo release trigger points in fascia and connective tissuesTo release trigger points in muscles and connective tissues
TECHNIQUESustained manual pressure for 90 seconds on each muscle’s groupSuction cups are used to create negative pressure
GEOGRAPHIC POPULARITYEurope, UK, Italy, Indonesia, Thailand, and MalaysiaChina, Greece, Egyptian, India, the United States and Europe, and Arab countries
COST140$-160$ per hour140$-160$ per hour
FREQUENCY Weekly or Bi-WeeklyOnce a month for three consecutive months

Which is Best for You Cupping Or Myofascial Release?

These therapies undoubtedly have clear outcomes in reducing pain and enhancing muscle performance. But, if your concern is to release deep tissue pain, and treat backache, venous insufficiency, or chronic migraine, then MFR helps you.

However, cupping is best if you want a holistic approach within your budget. It helps to improve your immunity and increase energy levels and overall well-being. It is best for skin problems, hypertension, anxiety, depression, and respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. 

Hope, you got a fair idea on Myofascial Release (MFR) and Cupping after reading the article. I recommend you consult a therapist before you finally decide on either Cupping or MFR.

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