Treatment Turns Deadly!

People are always seeking out new forms of therapy in attempts to improve their health — and more times than not these “new” therapies are actually ancient remedies and practices. Such is the case with the newest craze – “cupping”! The practice dates from as early as 3000 BC where documentation on the Ebers Papyrus, written c. 1550 BC (one of the oldest medical textbooks in the Western world), describes the Egyptians' use of cupping, while mentioning similar practices employed by Saharan peoples.
Like most new-ancient health crazes there are the proponents and opponents, and cupping is not immune to this set of circumstances. The actual health benefits to cupping have been hotly debated, however one definite negative aspect has been poorly trained people administering the procedure with disastrous results.


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Cupping therapy has been characterized as pseudoscience and many believe there is no evidence to support any health benefits while there are some concerns that it may in fact be harmful.
This form of alternative medicine involves placing a local area of skin under suction and through suction; the skin is drawn into the cup by creating a vacuum.



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It is believed by some to “draw out toxins” and decompress the muscles and tendons therefore helping treat pain, deep scar tissues in the muscles and connective tissue, muscle knots, and swelling. Some have even claimed it can treat serious diseases like cancer, hence coming under fire from many in the mainstream medical community.



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The cupping procedure commonly involves creating a small area of low air pressure next to the skin. Heating the cup or the air inside it with an open flame or a bath in hot scented oils, then placing it against the skin will create the low air pressure required. As the air inside the cup cools, it contracts and draws the skin slightly inside. More modern cups create the vacuum with a mechanical suction pump acting through a valve located at the top of the cup.


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Wet cupping is also known as Hijama or medicinal bleeding. Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for about 3 minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.



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Li Lin, a 63-year-old Chinese citizen, woke up one morning with a stiff and painful shoulder and decided have it treated via a traditional Chinese medicine practice known as cupping therapy.



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Initially Li was getting good results and the pain was diminishing, so he naturally decided to continue the treatments. However, the hickey-like suction marks left by the cupping treatment eventually evolved into burns and blisters.



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The blister pain from the cupping sites became so bad he had his wife lance his blisters. Unfortunately this led to the areas becoming so infected the spots had become gaping holes in his back and he had to be rushed to the hospital with septicemia (a bloodstream infection).



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Li was placed in intensive care and put on a heavy doses of intravenous antibiotics and is expected to make a full recovery, however his back will be scared forever. Li’s condition happened because his practitioner repeatedly placed the cups over the same spots.