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szdaily -> Lifestyle -> 
Cupping therapy: We did it long before Phelps
    2016-08-12  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    U.S. Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps made the world aware of cupping by showing his marked muscular shoulders before diving into the pool at the Rio Games recently, but cupping, and a similar treatment known as coining, have been practiced in East Asia for centuries.

    PHELPS, the 31-year-old U.S. swimming star, was seen with purple circles dotting his shoulder and back before his first race at the Olympics. The circles were caused by the ancient Chinese cupping therapy, in which he is a great believer.

    It involves pressing glass or plastic cups to the area of discomfort and either applying heat or suction to create a vacuum. The suction causes the large hickey-like marks.

    Another similar treatment is coining. The principle is the same: press a large metal disc with an attached handle on the area of discomfort. While cupping is virtually unknown in the rest of the world — and dismissed by doctors educated in Western medicine as hocus-pocus — it is commonplace in China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar as a cure for ailments as varied as fever, tuberculosis, rheumatism and muscular pain.

    What is cupping

    In ancient times, cupping was used to get rid of blood and pus when treating skin abscesses, but it has been expanded to treat tuberculosis and rheumatism. Because cupping was widely used in Chinese folklore culture, the technique was inherited by modern Chinese practitioners. It is established as an official therapeutic practice in hospitals all over China.

    The cups traditionally are made of a variety of materials, including glass, bamboo or earthenware.

    Supporters of cupping therapy believe the suction of the cups mobilizes blood flow to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments. And they say it can promote mental and physical relaxation and well-being.

    Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the “Ebers Papyrus,” describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.

    A 2012 study published in the journal PLoS ONE suggests that cupping therapy may have more than a placebo effect. Australian and Chinese researchers reviewed 135 studies on cupping therapy published between 1992 and 2010. They concluded that cupping therapy may be effective when combined with other treatments like acupuncture or medications in treating various diseases and conditions, such as herpes zoster, acne, facial paralysis and cervical spondylosis.

    Some also claim it helps treat respiratory issues and colds as well as improves digestion.

    How it’s done

    There are various types of the therapy, including dry cupping (suction only) and wet cupping (combination of suction and controlled medicinal bleeding).

    During both types of cupping, a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper is placed in a cup and set on fire. As the fire goes out, the cup is placed upside down on the patient’s skin.

    As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for five to 10 minutes.

    A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes practitioners use medical-grade silicone cups. These are pliable enough to be moved from place to place on the skin and produce a massage-like effect.

    During wet cupping, a mild suction is created using a cup that is left in place for about three minutes. The practitioner then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make superficial skin incisions. Then he or she performs a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.

    After the procedure, the site may be covered with an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. The skin’s appearance generally returns to normal within 10 days.

    Cupping therapy supporters believe that wet cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing.

    Possible side effects

    Cupping is considered to be relatively safe, especially when performed by trained health professionals.

    Potential side effects may include mild discomfort, burns, bruises and skin infection. According to the British Cupping Society, cupping therapy should be avoided by pregnant or menstruating women, people with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another) and those with bone fractures or muscle spasms.

    The organization also says cupping therapy should not be applied to sites on the body that have a deep vein thrombosis, an ulcer, an artery and a pulse that can be felt.

    According to the American Cancer Society, one problem associated with cupping therapy is that patients may skip conventional treatment. “Relying on this treatment alone and delaying or avoiding conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences,” the society warns.

    And one last thing to worry about: The marks left from cupping therapy can be mistaken for evidence of physical abuse!

    (SD-Agencies)

    Places to get cupping therapy

    Shenzhen TCM Hospital

    深圳市中医院

    Add: 1 Fuhua Road, Futian District (福田区福华路1号)

    Tel: 8835-9899

    Shenzhen Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine

    福田区中医院

    Add: 6001 Jingtianbei Street 3, Futian District (福田区景田北三街6001号)

    Tel: 8354-8611

    Wellsoon TCM Meilin clinic

    和顺堂梅林诊所

    Add: 1/F, Building 2, Meilin Culture and Sports Center, Futian District

    (福田区梅林文体中心2号楼1层)

    Tel: 8355-3803

    Baowen Clinic of Bao’an TCM Hospital 宝安中医院宝文保健部

    Add: 201, Building 2, Yajingju, Jian’an Road 1, Area 34, Bao’an District (宝安34区建安一路雅景居2栋201号)

    Tel: 2757-4355

    Wellsoon TCM Luohu clinic

    和顺堂罗湖区爱国路诊所

    Add: 1089 Aiguo Road, Luohu District (罗湖区爱国路1089号)

    Tel: 8831-8993

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