The other day, a friend of mine sent me a message asking if I was interested in going to a massage parlor to do 拔罐 (baguan), cupping therapy. I had seen it on a movie or something, and my landlady has come home a couple times with the marks on her back and I was really curious.
After I had it done, I looked up more information about the benefits of cupping. Chinese medicine highly advocates it. It used to be used to suck out venom from snake bites. Basically, the “professional” (I say this because the place we went, who knows if they really knew what they were doing) puts a cotton ball at the end of some forceps in alcohol, lights it on fire, and swabs it around the inside of a glass cup, and then very quickly places the cup on the skin to create an air-tight seal. As the air cools, the skin is drawn up, into the cup and blood pools in that spot. Chinese medicine believes that this method helps draw out toxins. Chinese people believe that it can cure you of a cold, and can do all sorts of miracle work. I don’t feel much different.. other than sore. It leaves bruises on your back from where the blood pooled.
On my back, I have some very dark spots. I have learned that it means that I have too much “inner wet.” …. I don’t really know what that means. One girl told me that when I dry off from taking a shower, I don’t dry off all the water, and the water gets into my body. I guess that’s a really bad thing. She said I shouldn’t go to bed with wet hair. I haven’t showered in the evening before going to bed in YEARS. Weird, but anyways, too much “inner wet” can lead to rheumatism. YIKES. I asked, “what can I do to fix it?!” and I didn’t really get any straight answers. I’m not too terribly concerned about it, but it is a little off-putting.
Now for the pictures – They are a little blurry.. and they are quite strange looking. Probably the weirdest pictures I’ll post on my blog.
It’s quite a weird sensation with the cups on … I didn’t really like it, and it hurt a little. The skin gets really tight as it’s pulled up into the cups. We laid like this for about 10 minutes before they took the cups off. But the feeling when the cups came off, that felt really cool… I would do it again for that feeling. I have no idea how to describe that.. but it was definitely interesting!
Yeah, I know it looks pretty awful. This picture is right when the cups were taken off. There are two that look really terrible, they’re really dark… Now, they look a little better, not quite so red, but still dark. They are sore like bruises, and when we had just finished, it felt like I had just done a really intense back workout… or had gone rowing when I was really out of shape. Now they are still a little sore, but not as bad. If you push on the spots, they hurt, but other than that, it’s okay. I’m still a little freaked out when I see my back in the mirror, but otherwise, I don’t notice any difference. Maybe I’ll do it again someday, hopefully I won’t come out with so much “inner wet.”