Some of you might have heard of cupping: this is an ancient Chinese method used both for treating pain and relaxing. It has been used across the centuries, and even celebrities use it nowadays : swimmer Michael Phelps uses it. What is the doctors’ opinion about Chinese cupping?
The alternative method of cupping works quite simply: little jars or glasses (made of either plastic or glass) are placed upside down on the patient’s skin. The small vessels need either to be pre-heated or can be operated on with a small vacuum, while placed on the patient’s skin. The purpose is that blood should be drawn to the surface. Hence, the result: purple circles as clear signs of cupping.
Expert Tom Ingegno talks about how the method works:
“So, the blood that we pull to the surface actually creates space deeper into the tissue into the muscle fibers themselves for fresh blood to come in and nourish that tissue, promote healing, and improve circulation.”
Scientists claim there is nothing dangerous about the method. Athlete Michael Phelps has been using the therapy for at least a year, considering pictures from competitions and swimming pools which prove the existence of purple marks on the sportsman’s body. The treatment is applied to him by his personal trainer, and it helps him relieve his muscular pain.
Patients have even reported falling asleep during the sessions, so there is nothing quite painful about cupping. Tom Ingegno also talks about how it feels when little jars are applied to your body:
“It’s a very weird sensation, there’s the sensation of the skin being drawn up into the cup. I wouldn’t call it pain, we can also mediate how strong those cups go on so for people that can tolerate more we can do more and we can do less as well.”
There are two types of cupping: dry and wet, function of the way blood is supposed to react to the treatment. The dark circles on the patients’ skin take three to seven days to disappear, depending on how strong the therapy session was.
Doctors are not against cupping, but they are not sure whether it is truly effective. They claim that they need to study the subject much more in order to tell some concrete results.
Cupping is getting quite fashionable, which does not come as a surprise since celebrities do it too.
Image source: Wikipedia