What Happened When His Cupping Went Wrong
Cupping procedure rose in popularity after celebrities started sporting the round bruises associated with the treatment. Touted as a natural cure-all for most ailments, cupping is now performed in many places where acupuncture is done. However, this procedure does not always go as planned. Imagine going in for a natural treatment and ending up in the hospital fighting an infection. That’s exactly what happened to Li Lin when his cupping went wrong.
After undergoing cupping, the 63 year-old man suffered a near death experience after seven places on his back became infected. The parlor that performed the cupping put the warm cups on the same places on Mr. Lin’s body each time. This resulted in what looked like burns on the surface of his back. Mr. Lin’s story draws attention to the risks associated with this ancient practice.
What is Cupping?
Cupping, used in China for centuries, is a natural treatment that involves placing jars or cups on the skin. These jars act as vacuums that pull out heat, which is said to help increase circulation and decrease pain. Unlike traditional massage, cupping does not push in but rather pulls out.
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Types of Cupping
- Dry cupping uses suction on points of the body and is probably the most common type. A vacuum is created within the cup, and this pulls skin out. Cups used may be glass, earthenware, or bamboo.
- Wet cupping starts out as dry cupping, but another step is added in the process. Once the skin is pulled up, cuts are made in the skin to let blood out. The areas that have been cut must be treated and bandaged to help them heal.
- Fixed cupping involves cups staying on a place on the body for a period of time without being moved.
- Moving cupping is where the practitioner moves the cups around and covers a larger area.
Many people seek out cupping as an alternative treatment for health issues. WebMd sites The British Cupping Society’s belief that cupping can help with the following conditions:
- Blood diseases
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Gynecological issues
- Elevated blood pressure
Since cupping is supposed to improve circulation, it has been attributed with the ability to cure any disease. Some believe poor circulation is the root of over 50% of health problems. They believe cupping can fix almost any ailment due to its ability to help blood move in the body.
It’s worth noting that no studies have been completed to back up these claims. Cupping can be used on most parts of the body but is most frequently used on the back.
Risks with Cupping
It’s extremely important that the person performing cupping knows exactly what they are doing. Cupping should never be done on a part of the body where a pulse is visible or can be felt. Practitioners performing cupping should also know what questions to ask to ensure the person seeking treatment is a good candidate.
Who Should Not Receive Cupping?
The National University of Health Sciences identified groups who should not undergo cupping. They are:
- People taking blood thinners
- Anyone with a sunburn
- People suffering from skin ulcers
- Those who have experienced recent trauma of any kind
- Children under the age of four
- Those with metastatic cancer
- People suffering from fractures or muscles that spasm
- Older children, women who are menstruating, and pregnant women should also exercise extreme caution when seeking this treatment.
While cupping is gaining popularity and many claim it helps with a variety of ailments, there are risks. The lack of studies on the positive effects should be considered. The possibility of something going wrong, like in the case of Mr. Lin, is also worth noting.