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Mainstream media hates holistic health so much that it's now attacking America's most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps for cupping/ Culpping Therapy

Isabelle Z.

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Aug. 12, 2016


(NaturalNews) Most Americans are proud to see swimmer Michael Phelps set records and add to our country's Olympic medal tally on the international stage. However, not everyone is thrilled with the attention he's been getting, not just for his wins, but also for his enthusiastic endorsements of an ancient Chinese remedy known as cupping therapy. A quick glance at the news stories on the topic over the past few days makes it clear that the mainstream media in America is not above attacking the country's most decorated Olympian for espousing holistic health treatments.


In a piece for The Atlantic entitled "Please, Michael Phelps, Stop Cupping", James Hamblin, MD, attacks Phelps for his affinity with the practice. He does not seem to be too bothered by the idea of one man turning to the therapy on his own, but he is clearly very worried about the prospect of a massive audience gaining interest in the practice and turning to solutions outside of conventional medicine in general.


The lead of his article indicates where it is headed: "The bruises on the swimmer's body come from a 'therapy' intended to improve blood flow. It actually causes blood to clot." Note the mocking use of quotation marks around the word "therapy."


The article is peppered with sarcastic references to Phelps' marijuana use – another alternative treatment – in an attempt to destroy his credibility.


He writes: "So in terms of role-model behavior, cupping may be more deleterious than a grainy bong photo, because it invites people to distrust science."


He points to a lack of studies on cupping to support his stance. When he says there's no science to prove it works, he fails to point out that there is also no science to say it does not work. The studies that do exist have found some evidence that it can help, but most agree that further studies are needed. In any case, people from the ancient Chinese to the world's top athletes in the modern day say it works for them.


Hamblin also says that studies aren't important to those who profit from cupping. It's understandable that he would think that way. After all, studies showing the harms of vaccines don't seem too important to those who profit from them, and the same can be said for studies showing the harms of various prescription medications.




Not everyone is mocking cupping




Taking a decidedly different stance, Douglas Main defends Phelps in Newsweek, saying he may actually be right about cupping in the headline of his article. He points to several studies that show there may be something to it, citing a 2014 review published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences that found the practice could reduce short-term pain more than heat therapy or conventional drugs.


It's that last part, of course – cupping being more effective for pain than conventional drugs – that has Big Pharma and its mouthpieces feeling very threatened every time an athlete emerges covered in cupping marks and starts talking about how great it makes them feel. They probably weren't too pleased when gymnast Alex Naddour said that cupping was his secret to success and that it was the best money he's ever spent.

Could all the world's top athletes be wrong?

Surely the most decorated Olympian in history has a team of experts at his disposal who advise him on matters such as preparation, training, performance, healing and recovery. The Atlantic article makes him out to be a complete idiot who is doing something obscure and crazy, yet anyone who has actually watched the Olympics on TV will have noticed countless swimmers and other athletes with similar cupping marks on their bodies. If the world's top athletes are turning to this therapy, does that mean they are all idiots buying into an ill-advised fad?


This attack on an athlete who deserves our respect is actually the sort of thing we've come to expect from the mainstream media: glossing over the dangers of vaccines, antidepressants and other prescription medications in the face of strong evidence, while deriding any form of alternative medicine that threatens the bottom line of the Big Pharma firms that bring them advertising dollars.


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Cupping therapy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cupping therapy
Fire Cupping.jpg
A person receiving fire cupping therapy

Cupping therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin.

There is no good evidence it has any benefit on health and some concerns it may be harmful.[1] Cupping classified as a form of pseudoscience.[2]



A woman who has received fire cupping at a roadside business in Haikou, Hainan, China.

Through suction, the skin is drawn into the cup by creating a vacuum in the cup placed on the skin over the targeted area. The vacuum can be created either by the heating and cooling of the air in the cup or via a mechanical pump.[3] The cup is usually left in place for somewhere between five and fifteen minutes. It is believed by some to help treat pain, deep scar tissues in the muscles and connective tissue, muscle knots, and swelling; however, the efficacy of this is unproven.[1]


Cupping as of 2015 is poorly supported by evidence.[4] In their 2008 book Trick or Treatment, Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst write that no evidence exists of any beneficial effects of cupping for any medical condition.[5] A 2011 review found tentative evidence for pain but nothing else.[6] The way it works is unclear but might involve the placebo effect.[7]

The effectiveness of cupping is difficult to determine as it is difficult to construct double blind or placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Proponents claim cupping is an alternative treatment for cancer. However, the American Cancer Society notes that "available scientific evidence does not support claims that cupping has any health benefits" and also that the treatment carries a small risk of burns.[1]

Side effects

Cupping is generally safe when done by trained health professionals on people who are otherwise healthy.[7] It is not recommended in people with health problems due to side effects.[7] Cupping is not recommended as a replacement for typical treatment.[7] Cupping may result in bruising, burns, pain, or skin infection.[7]

Research suggests that cupping is harmful, especially in people who are thin or obese. According to Jack Raso (1997), cupping results in capillary expansion, excessive fluid accumulation in tissues, and the rupture of blood vessels.[8]


Individuals have been performing the action for over 3,000 years. The practice is performed unsupervised, without any medical background. Traditional Persian medicine in Iran uses wet cupping practices, with the belief that cupping with scarification may eliminate the scar tissue, and cupping without scarification would cleanse the body through the organs (Nimrouzi et al., 2014).[9] Individuals with a profound interest in the practice are religious and seek purification.

Cupping has gained publicity due to its use by American sport celebrities including National Football League player DeMarcus Ware and Olympians Alexander Naddour, Natalie Coughlin, and Michael Phelps.[10] Medical doctor Brad McKay wrote that Team USA was doing a great disservice to their fans who might "follow their lead", calling cupping an "ancient (but useless) traditional therapy."[11] Practicing surgeon David Gorski claims, "it’s all risk for no benefit. It has no place in modern medicine".[12]

Critics of alternative medicine such as Harriet Hall, Mark Crislip, Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst call cupping "pseudoscience nonsense", "a celebrity fad", and "gibberish". They state that there is no evidence that cupping works any better than a placebo. Pharmacologist David Colquhoun writes that cupping is "laughable... and utterly implausible".[13][2]


Broadly speaking there are two types of cupping: dry cupping and bleeding and/or wet cupping (controlled bleeding), with wet cupping being more common.[citation needed] Neither have any verifiable health benefit. Preference varies with practitioners and cultures.

Dry cupping

Bamboo cups

The cupping procedure commonly involves creating a small area of low air pressure next to the skin. However, there are varieties in the tools used, the methods of creating the low pressure, and the procedures followed during the treatment.[14]

The cups can be various shapes including balls or bells, and may range in size from 1 to 3 inches (25 to 76 mm) across the opening. Plastic and glass are the most common materials used today, replacing the horn, pottery, bronze and bamboo cups used in earlier times. The low air pressure required may be created by 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. As the air inside the cup cools, it contracts and draws the skin slightly inside. More recently, vacuum can be created with a mechanical suction pump acting through a valve located at the top of the cup. Rubber cups are also available that squeeze the air out and adapt to uneven or bony surfaces.[citation needed]

In practice, cups are normally used only on softer tissue that can form a good seal with the edge of the cup. They may be used singly or with many to cover a larger area. They may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture needle. Skin may be lubricated, allowing the cup to move across the skin slowly.

Depending on the specific treatment, skin marking is common after the cups are removed. This may be a simple red ring that disappears quickly, the discolouration left by the cups is normally from bruising especially if dragging the cups while suctioned from one place to another to break down muscle fiber. Usually treatments are not painful.

Fire cupping

Fire cupping involves soaking a cotton ball in 99% alcohol. The cotton is then clamped by a pair of forceps and lit via match or lighter. The flaming cotton ball is then, in one fluid motion, placed into the cup, quickly removed, and the cup is placed on the skin. Fire heats the inside of the cup and a small amount of suction is created by the air cooling down again and contracting. Massage oil may be applied to create a better seal as well as allow the cups to glide over muscle groups (e.g. trapezius, erectors, latisimus dorsi, etc.) in an act called "moving cupping". Dark circles may appear where the cups were placed because of rupture of the capillaries just under the skin, but are not the same as a bruise caused by blunt-force trauma. There are documented cases of burns caused by fire cupping.[15][16][17][18]

Wet cupping

Further information: Hijama

Wet cupping is also known as Al-Hijamah or medicinal bleeding. The first documented uses are found in the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[19] According to Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Muhammad approved of the Hijama (cupping) treatment.[20]

A number of hadith support its recommendation and use by Muhammad. As a result, the practice of cupping therapy has survived in Muslim countries. Today, wet cupping is a popular remedy practiced in many parts of the Muslim world .[21]

Alternatively, mild suction is created using a cup and a pump (or heat suction) on the selected area and left for about three minutes. The cup is then removed and small superficial skin incisions are made using a cupping scalpel. A second suction is used to carefully draw out a small quantity of blood.

In Finland, wet cupping has been done at least since the 15th century, and it is done traditionally in saunas. The cupping cups were made of cattle horns with a valve mechanism in it to create an partial vacuum by sucking the air out. Cupping is still used in Finland as an alternative medicine.[citation needed]

Traditional Chinese medicine cupping

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) cupping is a method of creating a vacuum on the patient's skin to dispel stagnation — stagnant blood and lymph, thereby improving qi flow[citation needed] — to treat respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis. Cupping also is used on back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal conditions. Its advocates say it has other applications, as well.[22] Cupping is not advised over skin ulcers or to the abdominal or sacral regions of pregnant women.[23]


An illustration from a medical textbook "Exercitationes practicae" published in 1694 shows a man undergoing cupping on his bottom.
Cupping set, from London, England, 1860–1875.

There is reason to believe the practice dates from as early as 3000 BC. The Ebers Papyrus, written c. 1550 BC and one of the oldest medical textbooks in the Western world, describes the Egyptians' use of cupping, while mentioning similar practices employed by Saharan peoples. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates (c. 400 BC) used cupping for internal disease and structural problems. The method was highly recommended by Prophet Muhammed (see The Prophet's Medicine) and hence well-practiced by Muslim scientist who elaborated and developed the method further. Consecutively, this method in its multiple forms spread into medicine throughout Asian and European civilizations. In China, the earliest use of cupping that is recorded is from the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281–341 A.D.).[24] Cupping was also mentioned in Maimonides' book on health and was used within the Eastern European Jewish community. [25] There is a description of cupping in George Orwell's essay "How the Poor Die", where he was surprised to find it practiced in a Paris hospital.[26]

See also


  1. Orwell, George (November 1946). "How the Poor Die". Now. Retrieved 10 August 2016. As I lay down I saw on a bed nearly opposite me a small, round-shouldered, sandy-haired man sitting half naked while a doctor and a student performed some strange operation on him. First the doctor produced from his black bag a dozen small glasses like wine glasses, then the student burned a match inside each glass to exhaust the air, then the glass was popped on to the man's back or chest and the vacuum drew up a huge yellow blister. Only after some moments did I realize what they were doing to him. It was something called cupping, a treatment which you can read about in old medical text-books but which till then I had vaguely thought of as one of those things they do to horses.