Practicing Acupuncture and Natural Medicine for 20 years, I have been used to being at the bottom of the totem-pole, at least from a mainstream recognition standpoint. Having said that, I am taking advantage of the recent Olympic craze around cupping, not just for self-promotion, but to dispel some of the nonsensical and obviously politicized attacks (whether you knew it or not, there are people who are paid to attack things that compete with their employers and that’s all they do, whether truth is on their side or not).
Cupping has been a part of Chinese Medicine for over two thousand years (and likely more, but this is in writing!) and was originally done with bamboo cups which were flashed with fire to burn off the oxygen and quickly placed on the body where the negative vacuum was created and skin/tissue were pulled up into the cup. This suction forces energy/fluids to move where they weren’t moving all too well before the cupping. Depending on what is congesting said tissue, the colors of the skin vary. Critics will say that the Practitioners using cupping are simply bruising the skin, but this is obviously an ignorant comment made by someone with no experience with cupping as ask any experienced cupper and you will get an explanation with depth and clarity describing many different experiences. Ask someone who has been cupped a dozen times or more and they’ll likely give you high praise of how cupping has helped them stay loose and limber where they were previously tight and sore on a chronic basis.
As with any aspect of my Practice, there are major successes and times where I wish I hadn’t done something. At least when I have the latter feeling, no damage was done, it was simply ineffective and the wrong tool was chosen. This is why I left my path to Practice as a Physician/Sports Medicine Doctor and became an Acupuncturist. I wanted to help treat the root of chronic health issues that I saw plaguing so many people. Western Medicine was putting them on pharmaceuticals, sending them to PT and then to surgeons. It seemed counter-intuitive as so many common sense things were being ignored, like diet, ergonomics, body mechanics, exercises (yes, PT covers some of this, but often, ineffectively…I would be remiss to acknowledge that some PTs are EXCELLENT and do help people with not just proper exercises to help their Patients in recovery but proper motivation and exercises for the long haul to deal with deficiencies and weakness to prevent return of the problem).
The key is that cupping, when used in the right circumstances (what we, in Chinese Medicine, refer to as an excess condition with qi (energy) and/or blood stagnation), it can be extraordinarily effective. If used too much, it can be depleting. If used the right amount, it can allow the energy and nutrients in to heal an area so that tissue can be rebuilt and supplied with what it needs, as well as release of toxic material to allow the body’s detoxification organs do their thing (lungs, skin, large intestine, lymph system, kidney, bladder, etc) with optimal effectiveness. This allows for better energy production and efficiency as well as optimal healing.
Cupping is not just used for sports injuries/performance but for those holding stress in the upper shoulders and neck, back tension (from improper mechanics and stress issues), pathogenic issues (bacteria, fungus, virus) and more. Think about anytime the body may need help with movement; where things appear stuck.
There are different kinds of cups and cupping methods. Glass, plastic or rubber cups. There is fire cupping (described above) or suction cupping. There is wet cupping or bleeding (releasing blood from a small area pricked prior to cupping) or sliding cups (moving cups along oiled skin to cover a larger area and break up more stagnation), there is static or dry cupping (no bleeding) which is done the majority of the time, as many Practitioners are not comfortable or do not want to take the time to do wet cupping. Also, some insurance companies do not cover fire cupping or wet cupping.
If you are located south of Boston, MA and would like to experience cupping, please contact me at 774-283-2726. You may visit my website at nenhs.com. I will be completing demo videos and posting them on my website, soon. New England Natural Health Service (NENHS) is located in Middleboro and Plymouth, MA. For acupuncture, cupping or natural medicine, please reach out.