Alternative medicine can be a fairly controversial topic, and people tend to have strong opinions about it on both sides. Regardless of your view, however, I think we can all agree that some of what passes for “medicine” in this category is a bit odd. Take the practice of cupping therapy, for example.
Fire cupping is an ancient form of therapy that is believed to promote healing and improve blood flow.
The process involves a fuel-soaked cotton ball being lit on fire. In one fluid motion, the flame is placed inside the glass cup and the cup is placed on the skin. By removing the oxygen, it creates a tighter seal.
After treatment, the cups can leave behind some nasty bruises for a few weeks. For those who believe they benefit from cupping, it’s a small price to pay.
— Richard Cooper (@coopes47) June 19, 2016
Because of the damage cupping can cause to the skin, it’s recommended to space out your sessions. If you don’t…well, bad things can happen.
The end result of “cupping”. Despite massive bruising, the muscle tension relief is absolutely heavenly pic.twitter.com/2LZEzLBKrk
— ✈️ (@MyNameIsCETP) June 18, 2016
It’s a lesson that a man from Sichuan, China, learned the hard way. Below is a photo of his back taken at a hospital after the 63-year-old underwent daily sessions of cupping for an entire month.
According to the man, people at the shop where he had the treatment said that the only way for him to cure his high cholesterol and other small ailments was to continue treatment for a full month.
By day 10, the cupped areas were blistering, but that didn’t stop him. The man simply broke the blisters, washed them with salt water, and returned for more treatment. Near the end of his treatment, he collapsed while walking home. It turns out the blisters had gotten infected and the infection had become so severe that he needed to go to the hospital. If he had waited any longer, he would have died from blood poisoning.
Whether you believe in the healing power of cupping or not, don’t do it every day for a month. That’s just a silly idea. Once every couple of weeks seems like plenty to me.