Cupping? What is cupping and is it something you might want to try? Read about this newspaper writer who tried this ancient chinese remedy to heal sore backs that involve glass, fire and a bunch of round red blotch marks afterward.

“Cupping – used to combat back pain, drain excess fluids and toxins, stimulate the nervous system and increase blood flow to the muscles – is only meant to be “mildly painful”. That, of course, depends upon what you class as mild.

Dr Fei Wang, an acupuncturist who also practices cupping explained that the technique has been used for thousands of years in China. I is supposed to have beneficial effects on joint pain, especially in the neck, elbow or lower back. One treatment, lasting about half an hour, is all that’s needed to feel the benefits.

The cups need to be heated before they are placed on the body by swabbing the base of each cup with alcohol-soaked cotton wool, igniting the alcohol, and then quickly placing the cup on the surface of the skin (The burning of the alcohol consumes oxygen, which creates suction…and hence the red blotch marks)

Dr Wang ignited the cups before placing them quickly all over my back. The sensation took me by surprise and I let out a mild yelp. Dr Wang urged me to relax and I began to experience a warm sensation followed by a tightening of the skin as it rose up into the glass cups. It wasn’t painful, more strange. The cups were left there for five minutes. As the time ticked by, I felt more relaxed.

Dr Wang talked me through the new blotches that would be my friends for the next two weeks. On the front of my body, where the blotches are lighter in colour, my circulation is better, he explained. On my back, where the blotches are a darker red, I have worse circulation. Overall, however, I’m in pretty good shape, with decent circulation and good digestion.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Pro Massage Therapy Comments:

I have never tried cupping nor am I endorsing it. But since it does discuss relieving back and neck pain, I thought I would share it with you.

People have been doing this for thousands of years & many people claim good results.

Here is a youtube video of it.

Although it looks painful, the writer of the above article says that it only hurt for a moment and overall was very relaxing.

A lot of massage therapy techniques have their root in Chinese medicine. In fact I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between this cupping technique and the lymphatic drainage work that we do here. Lymphatic drainage therapy also uses glass cups that draw lymph thru the lymph nodes. Instead of using heat the lymphatic wand generates it’s suction thru a little vacuum pump.

If you would like to learn more about cupping here are a few other resources.

Here is a comical one

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