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The therapist uses a number of glass cups which look like small fish bowls. Each cup is heated with a naked flame. The cup is then quickly applied to the skin. This creates a vacuum. The suction anchors the cup to the body and the area of skin covered is drawn up a few millimetres into the cup. The cups are then left on the body whilst the area beneath is treated and the energy, or Qi, is moved. Cupping therapy is normally used on its own but can be combined with other therapies.
Tim Handley had conventional acupuncture and cupping therapy for a painful shoulder. He told BBC News Online: “I had four treatments and it really knocked it on the head. It was brilliant. After the first time I had it I felt absolutely fantastic. The difference was so tangible. It was wonderful. It felt quite strange because the suction was enormous. It was intense but not painful. You could feel the blood being drawn into the muscle. ” Like Gwyneth he was bruised afterwards. But the marks vanished quickly.” It looked hilarious. They were deep purple; amazing bruises. But it’s not damage as such. They are ‘healthy’ bruises and they disappeared very quickly – within a week. I would have it done again.”
Mike O’Farrell, CEO of the British Acupuncture Council, said:”Although cupping does leave noticeable marks that can look alarming, it is not painful during or after treatment. This is a successful method as seen by the thousands of patients who use it. However, as with all medical treatments, it is important to seek out a registered practitioner.” But Professor Edzard Ernst from the department of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter said that while cupping was relatively safe, it could cause burns. He added: “There is no evidence for its efficacy. It has not been submitted to clinical trials, but there have certainly been satisfied customers for 3,000 years.” (extract from article by Michelle Roberts, BBC Online)