Why you should try cupping therapy

Ugly cupping marks after cupping therapy!! Do I look like an incredible hulk? lol!

Knee injury & back pain

Last Friday I ran 10 km on treadmill in the gym. I felt sharp pain on my right knee - same knee pain I felt during Perlis Marathon 4 days before. My right knee suddenly became weak, causing me to land with a knee jerk. I'm not sure what is my injury. Perhaps it's jumper's knee or tendon injury or tendon inflammation?

With an ultra marathon 50km and a full marathon 42km all in the same month, I think it has taken its toll on my old pair of legs. Overuse perhaps? Furthermore, I have been trying to run at faster speed which I'm not very capable and comfortable with. 

Anyway, on Sunday when I had my 21km LSD run at Seri Hartamas, I felt the sharp pain on my right knee again after 15 km run. With 6 km to go, I forced myself to run back to Padang Merbuk. During this 6 km run that I probably aggravated my knee injury further. My knee was painful until I had to use my waist / back to share part of my body weight while landing. Unfortunately, this has caused the pain on my back too. Sob Sob!!

Tui Na 推拿 + Cupping Therapy

Last night, I decided to go for tui na (推拿), which literally means "pinch and pull" as a treatment to address my back and knee pain. Initially it was supposed to be just tui na. But somehow at the advice of the experienced tui na sifu, I ended up undergoing cupping therapy as well at the experienced hands of the experienced therapist.  

What an unforgettable first time experience with "lasting impression" and marks on my body!! lol!! 😉

Look at the "lasting impressions" on my body and hand! I can't go to the gym or swim for the next few days already!! Time to hide my "cupping marks" and rest my knees, back and legs for full recovery.
I didn't realize how bad the cupping marks are until I reached home and looked at myself in the mirror.

Oh no - full body with cupping marks - even my right hand which I had an injury during high school time. 

Do I look like I was just being beaten up? haha! The bruises!! OMG!!

What's cupping therapy?

The middle-aged experienced therapist is a very nice, friendly and knowledgeable lady. She painstakingly, patiently explained to me what cupping therapy is. 

She said, "Cupping therapy is actually an ancient form of alternative medicine which a therapist puts special cups on a person's skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, muscle relaxation and well-being. It also helps to remove toxins from the body and stimulate fresh blood, lymph and Qi to the affected area and throughout the body.

She then continued, "The athletes at Bukit Jalil Sports School come here often for tui na and cupping therapy. They have many sports-related injuries and some of the injuries date back to old injuries occurred during their childhood times. Somehow those old injuries haven't healed completely over the years. Due to their extensive training daily, they find the tui na and cupping therapy very useful."
As a chatty person, she actually gave me a lesson about cupping therapy. 

As she massaged and put the cups on my back, she continued the education for me, "The traditional method will be to place inflammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire, As the fires goes out, therapist will then place the cup upside down on a person's skin. But this method is rather dangerous. The fire might fall on the floor and catch fire."

I quickly responded, "oh yes, I remember! There was a Taiwanese singer whose face was burned due to the cupping therapy using the flammable substance"

She sensed my fear. She then comforted me by saying that the Herbal Footcare and Wellness Center has been using a modern method. They use the rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. She then showed me the rubber pump as well as the plastic cup (instead of the glass cup).

I felt a sense of relief and continued creating vacuum suction on my back especially at the areas where I felt the pain - upper back shoulder area and lower back. 

Any side effects?

Oh well, the professional therapist kept mentioning to me that the areas where I have injuries tend to get more bruises with skin turning blue. There is a more popular term for it: "red circles" due to the shape of the cup! 😋I tried to take a look at the red circles and bruises but the light was too dim and most red circles were at the back of my body. I wasn't wearing glasses too. lol!

I also felt quite a burn on my body as she moved the cup on the back of my body with the suction. 

Mild discomfort? yes - but I felt such great relaxing relief after she released the suction!

Red circles are in!

I have become very curious about cupping after experiencing the great relief from cupping therapy. When I saw the red circles on my body, I was shocked at how many red circles I have on my body.
I also told myself I would not go to the gym or swim for the next few days until the red circles are gone!

Then I found out from internet that cupping therapy is more popular and well accepted than I think. 

Athletes use cupping therapy

Besides Bukit Jalil sport school's athletes use cupping as one of the treatments for their recovery and injury treatment, Tennis ace Andy Murray used cupping in conjunction with other treatments to relieve stiffness and to help address a back injury. 

How about great Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps? He actually used cupping therapy for speeding up his recovery during Olympics. 

The red circles seem to be a trend!! haha!

Michael Phelps

Celebrities use cupping therapy

Celebrities like Gweyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham, Jessica Simpson and Lady Gaga are also cupping enthusiasts.  They were spotted with cupping marks on their back too.

Wait - how about Justin Bieber? He too - a cupping enthusiast!

Gweyneth Paltrow

 Jennifer Aniston

Justin Bieber

You and I can use cupping for health benefits too!

How about the average Joe like you and me? Shall we also try cupping for our health benefits?

After my first cupping experience, I'm sure I will have more cupping therapy sessions in the future! :) 

Meanwhile, I need to keep reminding myself that the red circles are not an embarrassment

Red circles are a statement!👍😋

If you have a sports injury, I will recommend that you give it a try too! :)

Written by Vincent Khor on 9 May, 2017.


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